Drought uncovers 113-million-year-old dinosaur footprints in Texas
Sylvie Claire / 6 September 2023
Torrid drought has once again uncovered prehistoric dinosaur footprints in a dry riverbed in the US state of Texas. Multiple tracks of two different dinosaur species, dating back 113 million years, were recently discovered in Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, some 128 kilometers southwest of Dallas.
Although the park is known for its dinosaur tracks, the newly discovered ones are largely covered by the water and sediment of the Paluxy River and are therefore not visible. Volunteers have so far identified around 75 new dinosaur tracks in the dry riverbed, said park manager Jeff Davis.
It's been another very hot and dry year, so our researchers are trying to take advantage of the drought," says Davis. "This is not a normal situation for us. Normally, all of this would be under water". This is the second year in a row that new dinosaur tracks have been discovered in the national park due to the drought.
Videos posted by the park on social networks show volunteers brushing away dried silt and dirt to reveal the hidden footprints. The dinosaurs would have left their paw prints in the sediment, which eventually hardened into what is now limestone.
The three-finger marks probably came from an Acrocanthosaurus, which resembled a Tyrannosaurus rex. This 4.5-meter-tall predator weighed around 6,350 kilograms.
The second tracks probably belonged to a long-necked Sauropodseidon, which could grow to over 30 meters in height and weigh 39,000 kilograms. The Sauropodseidon is the official dinosaur of Texas.
Dinosaur footprints aren't the only discovery linked to this summer's drought. This month, a jet-skier came across a tangle of World War I shipwrecks at the bottom of the Neches River in East Texas.