Saturday, November 9, 2013

Mudflat misstep

A mere moment that occurred 150 million years ago has been frozen in time. A set of dinosaur tracks, which cross the bed of a creek in the Oklahoma panhandle, numbered 47 footprints when they were discovered in the 1980s. The number of footprints has been reduced to 14 due to erosion, but 2 of those remaining are of particular interest to paleontologists, who have identified them as belonging to a 2-legged dinosaur known as a theropod. One of them has a ridge of mud pushed up and out along the side and the next is about .6" (1.6 cm) deeper than any of the other tracks. Graduate student J. Seth Hammond of Fort Hays State University in Kansas explains, "What we finally decided...must have happened is that the dinosaur slipped as it was walking across this really slippery mudflat, and then that's where it caught itself. In a way, what's interesting is the everyday trivia. He's just walking across a mudflat and slips like anyone else might."


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