Dinosaur Footprints Unveiled Amidst Texas Drought: As Texas grapples with severe drought conditions, a remarkable discovery has emerged—the revelation of dinosaur footprints dating back millions of years. Last year, during the relentless drought, the receding waters of the Paluxy River in Glen Rose unveiled 113-million-year-old footprints in the Dinosaur Valley State Park.
Previously hidden beneath the waterline, these pristine footprints have reemerged this year, as drought once again grips the state. Excavating and documenting these tracks has become a collaborative effort involving researchers and volunteers across various sites within the park, as reported by park superintendent Jeff Davis.
The footprints belong to the Acrocanthosaurus, a formidable carnivore that roamed the Earth during the Early Cretaceous period, approximately 113 to 110 million years ago. Towering at a staggering 15 feet and weighing around 7 tons, the Acrocanthosaurus held the distinction of being one of the largest predators of its time, rivaling the infamous Tyrannosaurus rex.
While the drought has brought these Acrocanthosaurus footprints to light, other notable tracks are also visible in Dinosaur Valley State Park when water levels are low. Among them are the footprints of the Sauroposeidon, a type of sauropod known for leaving trackways across Texas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming.
This year has yielded new discoveries as well, including the finding of two overlapping theropod tracks. These tracks, like the others, were exposed to the declining waters of the Paluxy River. When submerged, sediment fills the footprints, rendering them invisible. However, as the water recedes, these ancient imprints can be carefully excavated and studied.
Interestingly, the drought conditions that reveal these footprints also aid in their preservation as they become buried under sediment. It is worth noting that both this year and last year, Texas has experienced widespread drought conditions, with 62.10 percent of the state currently classified as severely drought-stricken, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
The drought’s impact extends beyond the Paluxy River, affecting numerous lakes across the region. For instance, Canyon Lake in Comal County recently reached a record-low water level of 892.65 feet. In the face of declining water, drought often unveils unexpected discoveries, such as the World War One shipwreck found in the drying Neches River and the multitude of human remains exposed by the receding waters of Lake Mead, which borders Nevada and Arizona.
The unveiling of these dinosaur footprints amidst the Texas drought offers a fascinating glimpse into ancient history, reminding us of the intricate relationship between climate effects and the preservation of our planet’s secrets.