October 7, 2011 by staff
The fossilized footprints probably date from the early Cretaceous period, from 115 to 120 million years. The researchers say that the dinosaurs that left giant predators probably included as Acrocanthosaurus atokensis, an initial premium of T. rex. There are also large, long-necked herbivorous dinosaurs as Paluxysaurus Pleurocoelus and that could have been an easy prey.
Stephen head of the University of Arkansas, who led the work on the site, says that the prints are in excellent condition – probably a good picture of what life in the Cretaceous as it could have been there.
What is now North America was tropical and humid at the time. The camp was probably on the edge of a body of water. Limo, which covers over time have become hardened to preserve the prints.
“Image of an environment very similar to the Persian Gulf coast today. The air temperature was hot. The water was shallow and very salty,” Boss said in a statement. “It was a hostile environment. We’re not sure what the animals were doing here, but clearly some were here in abundance.”
A. atokensis, if that is what the researchers found, was one of the largest predators ever to walk the earth. The dinosaur had three toes. The tracks are about two feet long and a foot wide.
To understand these ancient creatures, the research team used the high and low technology. They took plaster casts of footprints – as much as paleontologists have been a century ago – and laser scanners to map the site. The dinosaurs themselves may be long gone (I had not fossilized bones in place), but accurate measurements of their tracks may offer clues about how they moved.
Dinosaur tracks are surprisingly common, but not so great places. Scientists can examine the area to infer the amount of rain we had, and how fast it evaporates. If we can reconstruct the climate of the early Cretaceous, the university said it may be useful in forecasting future climate of the planet.
The land is privately owned in southwest Arkansas, not far from the borders of East Texas and northern Louisiana. For now, the researchers maintain the precise location a secret.
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