Dinosaur tracks from 113 million years ago uncovered due to severe drought conditions

The Acrocanthosaurus and Sauroposeidon tracks were revealed at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Texas.

ByClaudia Dominguez and Raja Razek, CNN, CNNWire
Wednesday, August 24, 2022
Dinosaur tracks from 113M years ago have become visible amid drought
Dinosaur tracks from 113 million years ago have become visible in Texas amid a summer of drought.

GLEN ROSE, Texas -- Dinosaur tracks from around 113 million years ago have been revealed at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Texas due to severe drought conditions that dried up a river, the park said Monday in a statement.

"Most tracks that have recently been uncovered and discovered at different parts of the river in 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," park spokesperson Stephanie Salinas Garcia told CNN in an email.

Dinosaur tracks dating from around 113 million years ago were revealed at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Texas, the park said in a statement on Aug. 22.
Paul Baker/ LDL Friends Dinosaur Valley State Park

The other species that left tracks behind at the park in Glen Rose, Texas, was Sauroposeidon, which would be about 60 feet tall and weigh about 44 tons as an adult, Garcia added.

This summer's excessive drought has caused a river in the park to dry out completely in most spots, revealing the tracks -- the latest long-hidden secret recently exposed as bodies of water have dried up due to drought conditions across the globe.

Dinosaur tracks dating from around 113 million years ago are pictured here.
Paul Baker/ LDL Friends of Dinosaur Valley State Park

More than 60% of Texas was experiencing drought last week in two of the most intense categories, according to the US Drought Monitor. The state also recently has experienced heat waves that pushed temperatures into the triple digits, leaving millions under excessive heat alerts.

The human-caused climate crisis, too, has increased the potential for more frequent dramatic swings in periods of drought and high precipitation, such as flash flooding this week in the Dallas area.

MORE: Climate crisis-fueled storms stunned parts of Texas afflicted this summer by 'flash drought'

Multiple cars were seen submerged in waters from the flash flooding in the early morning hours on Interstate 30.

Under normal weather conditions, the dinosaur tracks found in the riverbed are under the water and filled with sediment, which makes them less visible, Garcia explained.

"Being able to find these discoveries and experience new dinosaur tracks is always an exciting time at the park!" Garcia added.

Meanwhile, the tracks are expected to be buried again as rain is forecast, said Garcia, who added the process helps protect the tracks from natural weathering and erosion.

"While these newer dinosaur tracks were visible for a brief amount of time, it brought about the wonder and excitement about finding new dinosaur tracks at the park," Garcia said. "Dinosaur Valley State Park will continue to protect these 113-million year-old tracks not only for present, but future generations."

SEE ALSO: Fossil of perfectly preserved baby dinosaur discovered curled up inside its egg

Baby dinosaur bones are small and fragile and are only very rarely preserved as fossils, making this a very lucky find.

The tracks are just the latest discovery uncovered by falling water levels due to drought, both in the US and abroad: Five sets of human remains have been discovered at Lake Mead in recent months as the reservoir has dropped to about 27% of its full capacity.

In Eastern Serbia, dozens of German warships still laden with explosives were exposed in the drying Danube River. A prehistoric stone circle dubbed the Spanish Stonehenge was revealed in the diminishing Valdecanas reservoir in rural Spain. And Buddhist statues believed to be 600 years old were found in the depleted Yangtze River.

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