A set of 125-million-year-old dino tracks found in Utah will soon be available for the public to view. The tracks were found by a Moab, Utah, resident who was hiking in 2009, but the location has been kept secret since then. According to KSL TV, the dino tracks have been under study since then by teams of scientists from the University of Colorado and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
Excavation of the site where the dino tracks were found, just north of Moab, Utah, started last year. Volunteers have been helping to get the site ready for the public to visit.
One volunteer, Lee Shenton, said the dino tracks consist of about 200 tracks total. At least 17 of those were from one dino. They were found in an area of the U.S. that is known for well-preserved dino tracks.
“I think it’s going to be something really important,” Shenton told KLS. “It has at least a dozen different animals.”
Those studying the tracks so far have been able to tell that at least one dino was a type of ancient crocodile. The tracks found of another dino are a three-toed carnivore that is believed to be similar to a bloodthirsty and ferocious dino known as an Utahraptor.
According to Nature World News, the BLM is working on raising money to build a visitor’s trail to the dino tracks.
One of the most interesting aspects of the discovery is that some of the dino tracks have never been matched with bones. The newly found tracks in Utah should offer some insight into the life of the dinos.
“About 125 million years ago in the cretaceous,” BLM paleontologist Rebecca Hunt-Foster told KWCH news. “So it helps kind of fill in these gaps about these animals that we don’t know much about, that we know were here, but we just don’t find their bones.”
Another job volunteers are undertaking is to carefully clean the dino tracks so that the BLM can more easily document them with 3D photography. Though the tracks were found in an undeveloped area, the BLM still wants the 3D imagery in case the they are ever damaged or destroyed so they can replicate them.
The hardened tracks were left behind by dinos walking through mud, which eventually turned into rock.
“It’s pretty awesome to know that an animal walked right underneath where you’re working and that these creatures were once living, breathing creatures that were all over the place,” Hunt-Foster said of the most recent sets of dino tracks found in Utah.