Dinosaur Tracks

Dinosaur Tracks

 

Five main track site areas have been mapped within Dinosaur Valley State Park. Each of these areas has named individual track sites.


Track Site Area 1

  • The Ballroom
  • The Ballroom Annex
  • The Blue Hole
  • North Blue Hole
  • Opossum Site

Track Site Area 2 

  • The Main Ledge
  • The Main Site
  • South Main Site
  • The Bird Site
  • The Mid-Ozark Site
  • South Ozark Site
  • The Main Crossing

Track Site Area 3

  • The Overlook, which is closed due to the ground being unstable.

Track Site Area 4

  • Iris's Site
  • The Denio Site
  • The Denio Island
  • The B.P. Baker Site

Track Site Area 5

  • The Bend Site
  • The Lone Ranger Site
  • The West Taylor Site
  • The East Taylor Site


Two types of tracks are visible at these sites:


  • Sauropod tracks, large elephant-like tracks believed to have been made by Sauroposeidon proteles. On the icon below these tracks are marked in blue color. 
  • Theropod tracks, smaller and often with a distinct three-toed pattern, believed to have been made by Acrocanthosaurus. Some of the theropod tracks are classified as "elongated" because the dinosaur was walking on its metatarsal bones. Many of these tracks do not show the typical three-toe pattern because the tracks were made in runny, deep mud, and the toe impressions were buried. On the icons below these are marked by a red color. 

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Denio Track Site

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 When the park opened in 1972, the Denio Island Site was connected from the south to the larger Denio Site. Erosion separated them, and in 2011 it was washed away completely. 

Main Track Site

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 This area (50 feet by 15 feet) has a long sequence of sauropod tracks headed south. Several nice theropod tracks are here, one so deep the toes form tunnels. The south end of the site has some long furrows that have not been positively identified. Explanations vary from dinosaur tail drags to driftwood dragging the mud as it floated in the tide. This site is usually dry and good for viewing. 

RT Bird Track Site

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 This site is about 200 feet by 40 feet, is usually underwater, and is just south of the Main Site. R.T. Bird first identified the tracks of the dinosaur, now called Sauroposeidon proteles, here. In 1940, Bird and his workers excavated a large group of tracks. About half of the site has eroded since then and many of its tracks have disappeared. At the south end you can see three trails of sauropod tracks. Two are headed south, but one trail cuts across them headed west. 

Ozark Track Site

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  This is directly across from the Bird Site, attached to the east bank of the river. In 1940, this track site was attached to the Bird Site but has since broken off due to erosion. The site is usually underwater, but if the water is clear you can see four long trails of sauropods headed south. Alongside them, theropod tracks run both north and south 

Opossum Branch Track Site

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   This site is in the bed of Opossum Creek, which feeds into the Paluxy River. The site is relatively small with mostly theropod tracks. It is not easy to get to, but the tracks here are usually dry and easily seen.  

Blue Hole Track Site

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  This site is a small (12 foot by 7 foot) ledge with only theropod tracks. You can usually see this site under a few inches of water, and often from the top of the bank.  

Ballroom Track Site

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  The largest site in the park gets its name from the many directions of the tracks, as if the dinosaurs were dancing. This site contains nine very large (36 inches long) sauropod tracks with mud swells rising 8 inches above the surface. Ten smaller (22 inches long) well-preserved juvenile sauropod tracks show evidence that a young sauropod was being pursued by a theropod.  

Taylor Track Site

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 This is a crossroads for many theropod trails headed in various directions. Many of the tracks here are in-filled and difficult to see. Some of the tracks are the elongated type. 

Want to know more?

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For more information about track sites not listed or for mapping of the dinosaurs please click on the icon above. 

Check out this great video about Track Site 4

Our Dinosaur Tracks in The American Museum of Natural History

In 1937, R.T. Bird was collecting fossils for the American Museum of Natural History. He heard about the theropod tracks, and came to Glen Rose to see them. While exploring, he found a large sauropod track. Then he found more:  a near-perfect trackway of multiple steps of multiple animals, both sauropods and theropods.

These were the first distinct sauropod tracks ever found. For the first time, scientists could see that sauropods walked on all four legs, rather than relying on water to support their weight. The tracks gave scientists valuable evidence of dinosaur habits and activities. Below is a 1954 article from National Geographic by R.T Bird.