Dinosaur Footprint Found at NJ Construction Site

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A former New Jersey high school science teacher has discovered something that would have wowed his students: a three-toed Jurassic dinosaur footprint embedded in a slab of rock at a construction site near his home.

Chris Laskowich spotted the footprint in Clifton -- 15 miles west of New York's Empire State Building -- at an old stone quarry that's being cleared to build an 800-unit housing development. It's a popular place for fossil hunters to browse through piles of old stones once buried deep underground.

"I saw it in a boulder pile, it was upside down," Laskowich told The Record newspaper of Hackensack, N.J. "When the area was blasted, it could have gotten destroyed. The Caterpillar bulldozers might have rolled over the top of these boulders, making this rock useless [scientifically]."

The footprint is believed to be that of an early Jurassic Dilophosaurus. The print is about a foot long, embedded in a slab of stone about the size of a small car. The stone is a hardened mix of lava, sandstone and metamorphic rocks, and holds clues to the types of minerals and plant life present when dinosaurs roamed New Jersey -- now one of the nation's most densely populated states.

"There are so very few tracks of that size in New Jersey," Laskowich told the newspaper.

The discovery was made late last month and announced Thursday by the New Jersey State Museum and K. Hovnanian Homes, a building developer.

A spokesman for the company, Doug Fenichel, told NBC News that his firm is working with the museum "to strike a delicate balance between preserving our history and the progress of a new community."

Source from : http://www.aolnews.com

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