113-million-year-old dinosaur tracks just discovered in Texas

The newly discovered tracks were revealed as a result of excessive drought.
Nergis Firtina
Dinosaur tracks at Valley State Park
Dinosaur tracks at Valley State Park

Mike O'Brien/Dinosaur Valley State Park 

This year has brought extreme drought in various places across the globe and with it a wealth of discoveries, including the recent centuries-old 'hunger stones.' Now, dinosaur tracks from around 113 million years ago have just been revealed at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Texas due to drought conditions in the Paluxy River.

"Due to the excessive drought conditions this past summer, the river dried up completely in most locations, allowing for more tracks to be uncovered here in the park," explains Stephanie Salinas Garcia from the park's press office to CBS News.

"Under normal river conditions, these newer tracks are underwater and are commonly filled in with sediment, making them buried and not as visible," Garcia said. "Being able to find these discoveries and experience new dinosaur tracks is always an exciting time at the park!"

The video released on Facebook and shared over 6,900 times as of Aug. 21, caught many users' attention online- sparking debate and feeding imaginations.

"I must have watched too many Jurassic Park movies because I am getting nervous that he is spending all his time looking down at tracks and none looking over his shoulder," one user commented.

Whose tracks are these?

Stephanie Salinas Garcia said these tracks mainly belong to Acrocanthosaurus, a theropod, and a Sauroposeidon, a sauropod. An Acrocanthosaurus would stand about 15 feet tall (4.57 m) as an adult and weigh approximately seven tons. On the other hand, a sauroposeidon would be about 60 feet tall (18.288 m) and weigh nearly 44 tons.

113-million-year-old dinosaur tracks just discovered in Texas
Sauroposeidon proteles and an Acrocanthosaurus.

Although the tracks are visible, it is thought that they will disappear with the coming heavy rain or erosion.

"While they will soon be buried again by the rain and the river, Dinosaur Valley State Park will continue to protect these 113-million-year-old tracks not only for the present but future generations," Garcia said.

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Tracking dinosaurs

Located in Dallas, Dinosaur Valley State Park is a pretty good place to observe dinosaurs' lives. In addition to being a state park, it is also a National Natural Landmark.

At Dinosaur Valley State Park, it's possible to follow in dinosaurs' footsteps by "Mapping Dinosaur Tracks," and five main track site areas exist at the site. However, only two of these can be toured at present.

Extreme drought in Texas

It would not be wrong to say that Texas is fighting temperatures far above the seasonal normals this year. According to the graphic published by U.S. Drought Monitor, Texas is one of the U.S states where drought is most prevalent.

As per Texas Tribune, a drought can begin simply with a dry spell. This can quickly develop within a month or two of dry conditions in the summer right through to the winter season, said John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas state climatologist and a Regents professor at Texas A&M University.

Texas has been in a drought since September 2021, Nielsen-Gammon said, and that's due to several factors, including climate patterns in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

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