“Due to the excessive drought conditions this past summer, the river dried up completely in most locations, allowing more tracks to be uncovered here in the park,” said Stephanie Salinas Garcia, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department spokesperson, according to Phys.org.
In a fascinating twist of nature, the scorching summer drought has unveiled an extraordinary treasure in Dinosaur Valley State Park, Texas. The park, renowned for its dinosaur tracks, now proudly boasts some of the oldest tracks dating back over 113 million years.
Thanks to the drought, the Paluxy River has dwindled, revealing hidden dinosaur footprints that have long been submerged beneath water and sediment. Among these astonishing finds are tracks believed to be the longest made by a single dinosaur in North America, left by the Acrocanthosaurus.
Another site, known as the Denio site, revealed Sauroposeidon tracks, offering a glimpse into the lives of these ancient giants. This unique opportunity to witness such remarkable relics is due to the low water levels brought about by the drought.
Per Smithsonian Magazine:
"Two different types of dinosaurs likely made the footprints, according to park officials. One was Acrocanthosaurus, a 15-foot-tall carnivore that weighed approximately 14,000 pounds. As the gargantuan reptile walked around the area on two legs, it left behind the outline of its three-toed feet. The other was Sauroposeidon proteles, which has been the official state dinosaur of Texas since 2009. This long-necked behemoth may have measured up to 100 feet long and weighed closer to 88,000 pounds. It left behind larger, bulbous-shaped tracks that are similar to elephant footprints."
However, as Texas starts to see some rain, these tracks may once again disappear beneath the river's flow. It's a delicate dance between nature and preservation, as the river's silt and sediment play a crucial role in protecting these ancient imprints.
While the tracks will eventually be covered again, the park is dedicated to safeguarding this window into Earth's past for future generations. Visitors are encouraged to explore this prehistoric wonder during the spring and fall when the weather is milder.
Dinosaur Valley State Park offers not only a glimpse into the distant past but also a range of outdoor activities, making it a perfect destination for nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike. So, plan your visit to witness these 113-million-year-old treasures while they're still visible.
Will you be checking out the dinosaur tracks at Dinosaur Valley State Park? Let us know in the comments.