he record drought siphoned water from lakes, stressed plants, and wildlife throughout the state park system, but it was a boom to Dinosaur Valley State Park outside Glen Rose. In most years the Paluxy River has been so high the only visible tracks were the ones in the display area. The drought revealed new views of the tracks. The river has been so dry that kids of all ages have discovered the view of dinosaur tracks that have been unseen to the eye in nearly a decade. Even the locals are “astonished” when they visit the park. Abby Womack, Glen Rose resident, said, “This is the most dinosaur tracks I have ever seen. It’s really astonishing.” Dinosaur Valley State Park is about 30 miles northeast of Stephenville. It consists of 1,500-acres with a scenic park set astride the Paluxy River. Approximately 113 million years ago the park used to be a shoreline of an ancient sea. The “entire Glen Rose formation is covered in dinosaur tracks” Shannon Blalock, Dinosaur Valley State Park Superintendent, said. “These dinosaur tracks belong to the three-toed carnivorous dinosaur, theropod, and large round herbivore dinosaur, sauropod.” The pointy-three-toed birdlike track of a carnosaur, 12-24 inches long and 9-17 inches wide, most likely belonged to acrocanthosaurus, a relative of tyrannosaurus rex. The mostly oval footprints of the saurpod, over three feet long and two feet wide, probably belonged to pleurocoelus. Pleurocoelus is a plant eater and is a relative to apatosaurus, the herbivores in
Exploring Dinosaur Tracks
By Kayler Campbell
Jurassic Park. At Dinosaur Valley one may also find ornithopod tracks that probably belonged to iguanodon, another three-toed animal but with a more rounded toe than acrocanthosaurus. These tracks were created
when the dinosaurs walked in the soft, limy mud that used to be part of the Gulf of Mexico. When the mud was filled with new sediment from bordering lagoons, the footprints became preserved in the rock.
Dinosaur tracks set in stone at Dinosaur Valley State Park. Photograph by Robyn Dabney.
The park also has two lifesize fiberglass models of the relatives to the dinosaur tracks found at the park. The 70-foot apatosaurus model and 45-foot tyrannosaurus rex model were donated by the Atlantic Richfield Company. These models were from the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair Dinosaur Exhibit. The opportunity to see these tracks are so unique that even the American Museum of Natural History in New York extracted a sample of one of the Dinosaur Valley tracks to put in its museum. Dinosaur Valley is located at 1629 Park Road 59 Glen Rose, or call them at 254-8974588.
A magazine for the Cross Timbers region of Texas