Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .


Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















FLORA AND FAUNA
University of Alberta researcher tracks tyrannosaur's trail
by Staff Writers
Edmonton, Canada (SPX) Jan 19, 2016


Just outside the tiny town of Glenrock, Wyoming the footprints of a 66-million-year-old monster are cemented in stone. This fossil trackway was brought to light with the help of University of Alberta paleontologist Scott Persons, who first viewed the tracks as a 13-year-old while visiting the Glenrock Paleon Museum. Image courtesy Scott Persons. For a larger version of this image please go here.

Just outside the tiny town of Glenrock, Wyoming the footprints of a 66 million-year-old monster are cemented in stone. This fossil trackway was brought to light with the help of University of Alberta paleontologist Scott Persons, who first viewed the tracks as a 13-year-old while visiting the Glenrock Paleon Museum.

"The Paleon is an unusual place. It's not a big museum, but it doesn't have to be because it's got the badlands for a backyard," explains Persons. The working museum has dinosaurs on display, but also provides opportunities to experience paleontology in action.

"Before Glenrock, for me paleontology was dinosaurs in books and their skeletons in display halls and behind glass cases. This was the first time I got my hands dirty in the field and in a fossil preparation laboratory."

The museum's curator, Sean Smith, showed Scott another first: the fossil tracks of a tyrannosaur. "Sean led me out to a sandstone slope and started brushing away at an indented spot. At first, it looked like a prehistoric pothole," Persons recalls. "But soon, I could see the imprints of three big toes each with sharp claw tips. It was so cool my jaw dropped. Then, Sean pointed up slope, and there were two more!"

The Glenrock tracks, as it turns out, are one of a kind. Years after his initial visit to the Paleon, Persons--now a doctoral student in paleontology--reached out to the museum and urged them to pursue formal scientific description of the trackway. With his help, a research paper on the rare footprints has just been published in the peer-reviewed journal Cretaceous Research.

Based on the sharp claws and other traits, such as the imprint of a small fourth claw at the rear of the best track, the footprints can be definitively identified as those of a carnivorous dinosaur--a big one. Given the trackway's age and geography, the only candidate for the prints' maker is a species of tyrannosaurid.

"The tracks are just a bit too small to belong to a full grown T. rex," Persons explains. "But they could very well be the tracks of an adolescent Tyrannosaurus rex, or they could belong to the closely-related smaller tyrannosaur Nanotyrannus. We really can't say which."

Either way, the tracks are unique. While several instances of isolated tyrannosaur footprints have been found before, the Glenrock trackway is only the second multi-step tyrannosaur tracksite known to science, and the first to belong to T. rex or Nanotyrannus.

"Having a trail of tracks is important," says Persons. "With it, you can calculate an estimate of how fast the tyrannosaur was walking." That estimation, between 4.5 and 8 km/h, put the tyrannosaur at a slow trot and confirms, contrary to some previous speculation, that tyrannosaurs were no slower than many other large carnivorous dinosaurs. It also shows that, even when walking, tyrannosaurs moved faster and covered more ground in a single step than the large herbivores, such as the duckbilled dinosaurs, which they coexisted with and presumably hunted.

The tyrannosaur tracks are expected to help put Glenrock and its museum on the map. "The tracks are still in the field," says Persons. "If you go to Glenrock, today, visit the Plaeon Museum, and are up for a little hike, you can see the prints just like I did." To help preserve a record of the tracks, casts of the footprints have also been made and are on public display in the Glenrock Paleon Museum.

.


Related Links
University of Alberta
Darwin Today At TerraDaily.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
FLORA AND FAUNA
Rare Cambodian elephant footage raises survival hopes
Phnom Penh (AFP) Jan 15, 2016
Rare footage of an elephant herd roaming through Cambodia's biggest forest sanctuary signals the success of a 14-year conservation programme and raises hopes for the endangered species' survival, an environment group said Friday. The camera trap footage, taken in the spectacular and remote Cardamom Mountains, shows 12 elephants, including young, grazing and lumbering through the forest. ... read more


FLORA AND FAUNA
Nepal quake rebuilding to take years, new chief says

MH370 search finds new shipwreck, but no plane

Six years on, quake-devastated Haiti mourns its dead

Snow makes migrants' journey through Europe even harder

FLORA AND FAUNA
Nano-shells deliver molecules that tell bone to repair itself

Recycling light

3-D mapping of entire buildings with mobile devices

Polymer puts new medical solutions within reach

FLORA AND FAUNA
Northwest Atlantic Ocean may get warmer, sooner

What snapping shrimp sound patterns may tell us about reef ecosystems

Fish can benefit from restoring and protecting streamside meadows

Obama declares emergency over foul water in Michigan

FLORA AND FAUNA
Study finds high melt rates on Antarctica's most stable ice shelf

Human-made climate change suppresses the next ice age

Ice sheets may be hiding vast reservoirs of powerful greenhouse gas

Clouds, like blankets, trap heat and are melting the Greenland Ice Sheet

FLORA AND FAUNA
Bird flu detected in US turkey flock

De-mystifying the study of volatile organic plant compounds

Fewer than 1 in 25 Seattleites can really eat locally

Plant growth tech may alleviate climate change and food shortage

FLORA AND FAUNA
Kobe marks 21 years since killer quake

Evidence of large volcanic activity in the Caribbean uncovered

Rare January hurricane forms in the Atlantic: forecasters

Alex, now a tropical storm, inflicts minor damage in Azores

FLORA AND FAUNA
Several dead as Shebab storm African Union base in Somalia

China's imports from Africa plummet in 2015: officials

Niger holds 13 over failed December coup

Mali extends state of emergency until March 31

FLORA AND FAUNA
Study: 920,000 Pygmies living in forests of Central Africa

Chimp friendships are based on trust

Brain monitoring takes a leap out of the lab

Research suggests morality can survive without religion




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News








The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.