Can You See The Dinosaur Tracks?

Sometimes tracks are obvious and easy to see. Most often they can be difficult to spot unless you know what to look for. A good place to start is to look for the claws. Claws tend to leave better impressions even when the toes and foot are faint and difficult to see.

There are five or more dinosaur tracks on the rock pictured above. Can you find any of them? Once you know what to look for it becomes easier to see tracks. However, trying to find tracks in a photograph of a stone isn't really fair. When you are looking at a stone in person, you can move your head around and look at the stone from various. At times that will allow you to see things you might have otherwise missed. However, there is at least one on this rock you should be able to see in the photograph.

Tap the photo above for a view lite by low angle sunlight. In addition, it will have one of the tracks circled. You should be able to pick out a second track on your own. Come to the physical museum to see how many tracks you can find on this stone in person. We're NOT OPEN yet, but we'll post the location and hours here as soon as we do open.

easier to see a track here

Do You See The Tracks?

Here's a couple of easier ones. Can you see any tracks on either of the stones pictured above? If there are one or more tracks, can you identify the type of dinosaur?

Stone "A" has an obvious track at an angle tilted to the right. The center toe is pointing at the upper right corner of the stone. The toe on the right of the foot has a visible claw. The toe on the left is fainter and is pointed away from the foot at a greater angle than the right toe. This track cannot be seen clearly enough in the photo to identify the type of dinosaur.

Stone "B" does not have any dinosaur tracks, but it does have an interesting fossil ripple. It appears the direction of the water flow was from the top of the photograph to the bottom. There was probably something stuck in the mud, possibly parts of a tree branch, and the water was flowing around it leaving the horseshoe shaped ripples in the sediment.

mud cracks and tracks

Tracks and Cracks

Now let's try one that's a little harder.

The photo on the right was taken in the Nash Quarry and shows part of a trackway still in the ground. There is a track at the bottom center of the picture, and another at the top just to the left of center. What is the most prominent feature in each of these tracks? The toes, and in particular the center toe. And in the upper track, right at the top edge of the photo, the claw on the center toe is very distinct. That's how to find this type of dinosaur track. Look for the claws and then the toes.

The photo on the left has no dinosaur tracks. These are mud cracks. Mud cracks are often used to "prove" the mud was baked and hardened in the sun. However, mud cracks such as the ones shown here, can form underwater. If the sediment builds up rapidly (such as during a Biblical flood), the weight pushes down on the deeper layers squeezing the water out, drying the sediment, with the result being fossil cracks in the mud. Mud cracks result from the mud drying out, not necessarily from being exposed to the sun.

Both of These Stones Have Tracks

Stone A is in Kornell Nash's private collection. The track has been stained to improve visibility. It looks like this was a mutant dinosaur with two center toes. This type of impression can happen in three ways. The dinosaur steps in the mud, then picks up a toe and moves it a little. Often this will be seen as the toe having multiple tips and claws. The dinosaur might also pick up its entire foot and then put it down in almost the same spot. The third possibility is that a second dinosaur stepped in an existing footprint with the result being one footprint overlaying another footprint.

Stone B shows a variety of partial tracks. They have been circled to make them easier to spot. Tap on the above image for a larger view. You can see a full track, in this case some of the mud that filled in the track is still there. There is half of a track, with most of the center toe and one of the toes on the side showing. The rest of the track is under another layer of sediment. And there are two toe tips showing. For the upper one, the rest of the toe did not leave an impression. The lower toe tip is in a area of the stone where pieces have broken off. Part of this toe is under additional sediment and part has been broken off.

Next - Where Did Our Tracks Come From?   Trace Fossils in the Museum