Dinosaur footprints more than 113 million years old have been found in a Texas river whose waters are receding due to severe summer drought.
A video and pictures of the enormous prints in the mucky Paluxy River riverbed were posted by Dinosaur Valley State Park in Texas near Fort Worth on Tuesday.
Stephanie Salinas Garcia, a park spokesperson, informed CNN by email that “most tracks that have recently been uncovered and discovered at different parts of the park belong to Acrocanthosaurus. This was a dinosaur that would stand, as an adult, about 15 feet tall and weigh close to seven tons.”
There have also been tracks from Sauroposeidon, which stood sixty feet tall and weighed forty-four tons millions of years ago, found in the park.
Although the longest set of tracks discovered at the park was probably formed by one dinosaur, it is anticipated that they will disappear during rainier weather.
Park Director Jeff Davis told ABC News that even though these tracks haven’t appeared in at least twenty years, various tracks frequently appear and disappear across the park depending on the weather.
“It’s the river that will bring in silt and sediment and pile those on top of the tracks,” Davis said. “That’s what preserves them…that’s why they’re still here after 113 million years or so.”
How Dinosaur Footprints Are Preserved
According to Davis, to preserve the dinosaur footprints, the park will purposefully leave portions of the tracks covered. Otherwise, volunteer groups or park rangers will remove tracks using safe procedures.
When clearing and cleaning out some of the tracks, Davis said, personnel will use a combination of brooms, leaf blowers, and a bit of water. So that the tracks remain intact, personnel may shovel up dirt and rocks.
Davis added that “Dinosaur Valley State Park has world-class dinosaur tracks” and “there are no better [known] tracks anywhere in the world” in terms of the quality of preservation, its features, and the amount of detail inherent in the prints.
Declining water levels in lakes and rivers have led to droughts that have brought previously submerged and unknown artifacts to light. As Europe endures its worst drought in five hundred years and water levels in Arizona and Nevada have reached record lows, several sunken WWII German ships have resurfaced along the Danube River. Additionally, human remains have been found in Lake Mead.