New dinosaur footprints discovered outside SA

Prints found at Government Canyon Natural Area; Molds to be on display at Witte Museum

BEXAR COUNTY, Texas – A two-mile trek into Government Canyon Natural Area that takes you to a place where time stands still.

"Roughly 110 million years ago, this whole area was the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico," said Chris Holm, superintendent of Government Canyon Natural Area.

Deep within the park, along Government Canyon Creek, is where a beach once existed. It was muddy, allowing roaming dinosaurs to leave behind footprints.

Through Mother Nature's preservation alone, they've survived to present day.

"They've never been seen by humans," said Holm.

At least most of them have not.

Dinosaur tracks are common in Texas and it has long been known that they exist at Government Canyon.

However, many of the nearly 150 tracks are newly discovered and are now being researched. The site is also the first time dinosaur footprints have been found on public property in Bexar County, allowing everyone to see the pre-historic site.

Two types of dinosaurs are likely represented at the site, with the most prominent footprints coming from what was a two to three ton dinosaur.

"This is an animal that was probably close to the size of Tyrannosaurs Rex, who is much better known," said Dr. Thomas Adams, who serves as the curator of paleontology and geology at the Witte Museum. "It was called Acrocanthosaurus."

Adams spends much of his time studying the footprints, leaving the discovery as a way for the Witte Museum and Texas Parks and Wildlife, which operates the Government Canyon Natural Area, to work together. 

Molds of the footprints will serve as a centerpiece of the museum's new dinosaur exhibit set to open in 2017.

"It's right here in our backyard, so it's a part of San Antonio's natural history," said Adams of the discovery.

The tracks are currently open to the public at Government Canyon Natural Area, as long as trails remain accessible.

The natural area is open Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. It is a two and half mile trek which does involve rocky terrain.

The new exhibit at the Witte Museum is part of the museum's scheduled new edition, which is tentatively set to open its doors by 2017. 

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