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Drought exposes dinosaur tracks in US park – Science-Environment News – Report by AFR

A drought in Texas dried up a river that flows through Dinosaur Valley State Park, exposing tracks left by giant reptiles that lived about 113 million years ago, an official said Tuesday.

Photos posted to Facebook show three-toed footprints descending a dry, tree-lined riverbed in the southern US state. It’s “one of the longest dinosaur tracks in the world,” according to a caption.

Stephanie Salinas Garcia of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said dry weather made the tracks visible.

“Due to excessive drought conditions last summer, the river dried up completely in most places, allowing more tracks to be uncovered here in the park,” she said.

“Under normal river conditions, these newer tracks are underwater and are typically filled with sediment, making them buried and not as visible,” Garcia said.

Most of the recently revealed tracks are from Acrocanthosaurus, which weighed nearly seven tons (6,350 kilograms) as an adult and stood 4.5 meters tall.

Another dinosaur, Sauroposeidon, also left tracks in the park. It was 60 feet tall and weighed 44 tons in adulthood.

The state park — located in an inland area southwest of the city of Dallas — was once located on the edge of an ancient ocean, and dinosaurs left footprints in the mud, the site says.

While drought revealed the tracks, rain is in the forecast, meaning they’re likely to be overcast again.

“While they’ll soon be buried again by the rain and the river, Dinosaur Valley State Park will protect these 113-million-year-old footprints not only for the present but for future generations,” Garcia said.

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