Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dinosaur trackway on the Navajo Reservation

The East Valley Tribune (Phoenix) newspaper posted a video showing a dinosaur trackway, skeleton, and, according to the guide who is filmed, some huge coprolites. There is no label on the video, no idea of who shot it, or where it came from. But it sure looked like it might be somewhere on Arizona's Colorado Plateau.

I sent the link to Steve Semken, geology prof at ASU who's worked that area, and he confirmed that the tracksite is on Navajo land just off highway 160, a couple of miles west-southwest of Tuba City. It's moderately well-known among the geologic community but there's not wide public recognition or promotion of the site.

Tribal members often provide guide services to tourists for a small fee. Steve says the tracks are in the uppermost Moenave Fm (Lower Jur.) just at the contact with the Kayenta Fm. There are theropod tracks and bones, but as the video indicates, there is some embellishment about T-Rex, coprolites, and coeval human footprints. [right, large and small therapod tracks in the Moenave. Credit,]

There's a good description of the site, how to get there, and what to look for at the Hike Arizona site.

Spencer Lucas and Andy Heckert published a paper in 2001 on the dino fossils in this unit, in Neues Jahrbuch fur Geologie und Paleontologie Monatshefte. There's also another video of the site at

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