Excessive drought reveals 113-million-year-old dinosaur tracks at Texas state park

Newly discovered tracks belong to 15-foot-tall dinosaur, officials say

Due to the excessive drought conditions this past summer, the river dried up completely in most locations, allowing for more tracks to be uncovered here in the park, said TPWD spokesperson Stephanie Salinas Garcia. (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department)

GLEN ROSE, Texas – New dinosaur tracks were discovered at a Texas state park last week after a year of excessive drought.

The tracks, which date back to 113 million years ago, were discovered at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, southwest of Dallas.

“Most tracks that have recently been uncovered and discovered at different parts of the river in the park belong to Acrocanthosaurus,” a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department spokesperson told KSAT. “This was a dinosaur that would stand, as an adult, about 15 feet tall and weight close to seven tons. Sauroposeidon, the other species that left tracks behind, would be about 60 feet tall and weigh about 44 tons as an adult.”

The Paluxy River that runs through the park dried up in several areas exposing the tracks, which are usually underwater and commonly filled with sediment. This essentially “buries” the tracks and renders them invisible when the river is full of water.

The exciting discovery won’t last for long. Heavy rains have recently flooded the area and according to the park’s website, all trails are closed.

“With rain in the upcoming forecasts, it is anticipated that the tracks uncovered during the drought will soon be buried again,” the spokesperson said.

However, they noted that the tracks being buried under layers of sediment helps protect them from natural weathering and erosion.

“While these newer dinosaur tracks were visible for a brief amount of time, it brought about the wonder and excitement about finding new dinosaur tracks at the park,” TPWD officials said. “While they will soon be buried again by the rain and the river, Dinosaur Valley State Park will continue to protect these 113-million year old tracks not only for present, but future generations.”

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About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.