Monday, November 21, 2011

First dinosaur trackway in Nevada found outside Las Vegas

An announcement from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is getting a lot of attention in the paleontology world. BLM paleontologists
"have confirmed fossilized tracks (footprints) made 180 to 190 million years ago in sandstone within Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. This is the first documented dinosaur tracksite in Nevada.

Dubbed the Red Rock Tracksite, dozens of tracks from the Early Jurassic period have currently been documented. [Right, 5" across footprint from the Red Rock site. Credit, BLM as reproduced in the Las Vegas Review-Journal]

At this point, two types of tracks and trackways are recognized from the site:

  • Grallator tracks are footprints made by small theropod dinosaurs (two-legged, three-toed, meat-eating dinosaurs)
  • Octopodichnus tracks are footprints made by arthropods (possibly similar to modern spiders and scorpions)"
The Smithsonian is blogging about it as well. Red Rocks is about a 20 minute drive northwest of the Vegas Strip.

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