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Drought at state park uncovers dinosaur prints from over 100 million years ago

Tracks in Dinosaur Valley State Park, Texas
(Image credit: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department)

Drought conditions in Texas have led to an exciting discovery at Dinosaur Valley State Park: tracks left by creatures that lived over 100 million years ago, and had been hidden by a river running through the park.

As CNN (opens in new tab) reports, the prints are likely to have been left by Acrocanthosaurus (opens in new tab), which stood around 15 feet tall as an adult, and could weigh over seven tons. The other species that left its share of footprints at the park is Sauroposeidon (opens in new tab), which could reach over 50 feet tall, and weigh between 40 and 60 tons,

Normally, the tracks on the bed of the Paluxy River (opens in new tab) would have been underwater and filled with wet sediment. This not only hides them, but also protects them from erosion. However, the extremely arid summer means the river has completely dried out in some areas, exposing the prints for the first time.

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"Being able to find these discoveries and experience new dinosaur tracks is always an exciting time at the park!" said spokesperson Stephanie Salinas Garcia.

Recent rainfall means the prints are now concealed again. "While these newer dinosaur tracks were visible for a brief amount of time, it brought about the wonder and excitement about finding new dinosaur tracks at the park," said Garcia. "Dinosaur Valley State Park will continue to protect these 113-million year-old tracks not only for present, but future generations."

Cat Ellis
Editor

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).