Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

U. Of Colorado Researcher Identifies Tracks Of Swimming Dinosaur In Wyoming

Date:
October 19, 2005
Source:
University of Colorado at Boulder
Summary:
The tracks of a previously unknown, two-legged swimming dinosaur have been identified along the shoreline of an ancient inland sea that covered Wyoming 165 million years ago, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder graduate student.

The illustration shows a swimming dinosaur leaving deep, complete footprints in shallow water and incomplete footprints as it gradually loses contact with the sea floor. (Illustration courtesy Debra Mickelson)

The tracks of a previously unknown, two-leggedswimming dinosaur have been identified along the shoreline of anancient inland sea that covered Wyoming 165 million years ago,according to a University of Colorado at Boulder graduate student.

Related Articles


Debra Mickelson of CU-Boulder's geological sciences departmentsaid the research team identified the tracks of the six-foot-tall,bipedal dinosaur at a number of sites in northern Wyoming, includingthe Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. "It was about the size ofan ostrich, and it was a meat-eater," she said. "The tracks suggest itwaded along the shoreline and swam offshore, perhaps to feed on fish orcarrion."

Mickelson will present her findings at the Geological Societyof America's annual meeting Oct. 16-19 in Salt Lake City. Shecollaborated on the project with researchers from CU-Boulder, IndianaUniversity, Dartmouth College, Tennessee Technological University andthe University of Massachusetts.

Mickelson said scientists have previously reported evidenceof swimming dinosaurs in other parts of the world and at other times inthe geologic record. But the new findings by the team are the onlyknown evidence of any dinosaurs in the Wyoming region during the middleJurassic, she said.

The dinosaur does not have a name, although Mickelson iscontinuing to look for bones and other remains that could be used toidentify and name the new species. "This dinosaur is similar to aCoelosaur," she said. "It is a dinosaur with bird-like characteristicsand is a possible ancestor of birds. It lived in a much earlier timeperiod and was very different from larger dinosaurs like T-Rex orAllosaurus."

The tracks are embedded in a layer of rock known as the MiddleJurassic Bajocian Gypsum Spring Formation, a 165- to167-million-year-old rock formation that contains fossilized remains ofa marine shoreline and tidal flats. Geologists believe an inland sea,called the Sundance Sea, covered Wyoming, Colorado and a large area ofthe western United States during the Jurassic period from about 165million years ago to 157 million years ago.

Mickelson said the sea might have been warm and relatively shallow, much like the Gulf of Mexico today.

"The swimming dinosaur had four limbs and it walked on its hindlegs, which each had three toes," Mickelson said. "The tracks show howit became more buoyant as it waded into deeper water -- the fullfootprints gradually become half-footprints and then only claw marks."

Mickelson explained the tracks are found among the traces leftby many animals, including ancient crocodiles and marine worms. "Thetracks of the ancient crocodiles are very different," she said. "Theywalk on four legs and have five digits."

Since summarizing preliminary findings last spring,Mickelson and the research group have expanded their study area, whichshe said contains millions of dinosaur tracks in a number of GypsumSpring Formation rock outcrops in northern Wyoming.

The tracks are of different sizes and were deposited at aboutthe same time, according to Mickelson, revealing that the dinosaurslikely traveled in packs and exhibited some variation in overall size."Further research into the geologic record and depositional history ofthe region supports our conclusion that the dinosaurs wereintentionally swimming out to sea, perhaps to feed," she said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Colorado at Boulder. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Colorado at Boulder. "U. Of Colorado Researcher Identifies Tracks Of Swimming Dinosaur In Wyoming." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 October 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051018071725.htm>.
University of Colorado at Boulder. (2005, October 19). U. Of Colorado Researcher Identifies Tracks Of Swimming Dinosaur In Wyoming. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051018071725.htm
University of Colorado at Boulder. "U. Of Colorado Researcher Identifies Tracks Of Swimming Dinosaur In Wyoming." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051018071725.htm (accessed February 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Discovery Of 'Dragon' Dinosaur In China Could Explain Myths

Discovery Of 'Dragon' Dinosaur In China Could Explain Myths

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) A long-necked dinosaur from the Jurassic Period was discovered in China. Researchers think it could answer mythology questions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Battle of Waterloo Artefacts Go on Display at Windsor Castle

Battle of Waterloo Artefacts Go on Display at Windsor Castle

AFP (Jan. 29, 2015) Artefacts from the Battle of Waterloo go on display at Windsor Castle to mark the 200th anniversary of the momentous battle. The exhibition includes contemporary prints, drawings and personal belongings of French Emperor Napoleon. Duration: 00:31 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mideast Skull Find Sheds Light on Human Ancestors' Trek

Mideast Skull Find Sheds Light on Human Ancestors' Trek

AFP (Jan. 29, 2015) A 55,000-year-old partial skull found in the Middle East gives clues to when our ancestors left their African homeland, and strengthens theories that they co-habited with Neanderthals. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Say Earliest Snakes Lived Alongside The Dinosaurs

Scientists Say Earliest Snakes Lived Alongside The Dinosaurs

Newsy (Jan. 28, 2015) Wrongly categorized as lizard fossils, snake fossils now show the reptile could have developed earlier than we thought — 70 million years earlier. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins