Major New Dinosaur Trackway Found In The U.S.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fossilized dinosaur tracks "trample in the mud" were discovered in southwestern Arkansas, scientists say.

Extending the length of two football pitches, impressions hint that the predator was a little giant pigeon.

Many species, including eight tons Acrocanthosaurus atokensis-one of the largest predators ever to walk the Earth and sauropod, or long-necked herbivores, left their footprints 120 million years ago in the Cretaceous limestone.

At that time, Arkansas was a mud flat and wide, like a bank hot, dry and salty Persian Gulf today, is not particularly "nice place", said the group's leader, Stephen Boss, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville geologist .

Acrocanthosaurus predators such as sauropods, probably attracted by the site, and prey species, but "what sauropods doing there, who knows?" The boss said.

Although in other parts of North America, the dinosaur footprints are rare in the southern United States, he said. In fact, most people tend to think that dinosaurs lived in the "traditional" lands in western Colorado and Utah.

"I do not think this is a place once inhabited by dinosaurs, but it is, and here's the proof."

(See the "first dinosaur footprints found in the Arabian Peninsula.")

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A citizen recently discovered the tracks, which may have been exposed after a storm discovered a thin layer of shale. The shape of the cavity and the age of the limestone leaves "no doubt" that were left by dinosaurs, said the chief, whose new research has not yet been published.

"The pictures seem to make it clear that they really are traces of theropod dinosaurs," vertebrate paleontologist Thomas R. Holtz, Jr., said by e-mail. Theropods, which includes T-Rex was a two-legged predators.

"Songs Acrocanthosaurus are already well known in Texas, and we Acrocanthosaurus fossil forms closely related to Texas, Oklahoma, and Maryland, as it almost certainly lived in Arkansas, too," said Holtz, University of Maryland.

The tracks were probably left by the dinosaurs and many must have been completed relatively quickly if they were exposed too long, the slopes are eroded beyond recognition, patron member of the team said.

Laser set "Discovery"

Boss and his colleagues scanned with a laser trackway with high resolution. The digital scan tracks preserved that scientists can analyze them and "go through this surface in cyberspace," he said.

For example, will be further investigated Acrocanthosaurus of 2-foot-long (0.6 meters) space to help meet the key issues, such as "What is this thing when it seems that was the meat?" The boss said.

Already, scans have revealed that the three fingers Acrocanthosaurus not have webbed feet, a discovery that would not be possible with only the bones of the evidence.

Songs may also appear on the digital research researchers detail how dinosaurs walked. "One thing that surprised me [first analysis]," the chief said, "feet turned inwards a sort of pigeon-toes."

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