Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dinosaur Valley State Park

Paluxy River
We have made a few trips to state parks and wildlife reserves, so from time to time I will post info and photos about the parks we've visited.  This time, I will share Dinosaur Valley State Park in Texas.
During the Early Cretaceous Period of the Mesozoic Era, Texas was a very different place from what we see now, in both terrain and inhabitants.  The evidence can be seen throughout the state, and some of this evidence is open to the public, such as the fossilized dinosaur tracks at Dinosaur Valley State Park near Glen Rose.  The Paluxy River winds its way through the valley, here and there offering a window into the past - rock shelves on the riverbed with the tracks of a drama that played out over 118 million years ago.
The sauropod tracks are across the top, the theropod below.

At some locations along the river, long trails of tracks indicate the large (30 feet long from nose to tail) theropod Acrocanthosaurus pursuing his prey, the 50 foot long, 30 ton sauropod Pleurocoelus.  The photo to the left shows a row of tracks from a sauropod across the photo and below that is a row of tracks from the theropod.  Pleurocoelus lumbered along on four legs, and in this photo, its steps are closer together, in relation to its size, than the Acrocanthorsaurus which walked on two legs and was more nimble and probably running when these tracks were made.

Large round tracks of the forefoot of the Pleurocoelus

The photo to the right shows a complete track, large and rounded, made by the forefoot of a Pleurocoelus.  To the right and above is a track made by the huge creature walking more on its toes.  There are also two clear prints from an Acrocanthosaurus in this shot.

Numerous tracks from different types of dinosaurs
Other areas, as in the photo to the left, reveal a mass of tracks where numerous representatives of these reptiles lived their lives in this once coastal area, along the shore of a shallow-water marine lagoon.

Here and there among the 20+ inch long tracks are sprinkled smaller tracks that could possibly be from one of the other dinosaurs that have been identified in fossil remains in the Texas and Oklahoma area - an ornithopod such as Iguanodon or Tenontosaurus, or a smaller theropod, or one of the hypsilophodontids.  These have all been identified in the fossil record of Texas.

It is an incredible sight, these tracks that look as though they were made yesterday.  Unfortunately, once tracks become exposed to the elements, they begin to erode and crack and degrade until nothing is left of them.   Some have been removed and are on display at museums such as the American Museum of Natural History in NYC.

 In addition to encouraging contemplation about the idea of dinosaurs roaming the area, Dinosaur Valley State Park is a wonderful place to hike, relax in the peace and quiet, and enjoy nature, or bring your horse and explore the equestrian trails.  It's a terrific spot for photographers, especially in the spring when the wildflowers are blooming.  There are also other fossils that can be found from time to time along the river, such as this one pictured below that we found on a dry section of riverbed.  That is a man's foot next to it, so some of these fossils are pretty large.  If you get the chance, visit this wonderful park.  If not, then visit one or more of my shops to see a selection of my photos taken at the park.

Dogs on leash are welcome.


  1. amazing - the footprints are awesome to see. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting! I enjoy your blog.

    Yes, the footprints are awesome. They really help solidify the idea that these were huge creatures with big claws and they really lived here on earth.

  3. Hi Lisa! Thank you for feedback! As you may know my english isn't perfect. So I thought I misunderstood Pinterest's TOS. After I wrote that small post I made a quick search and I found one or two people that are also concerned mainly photographers that had work pinned and do not approve! I must dig more into it. Mostly I did some re - pinning there.When I discover it I thought about the use of photos on blogs against authors will and without any credits many times.Then I forgot all about it. But today I was so surprised when I read TOS! And, you're right also about your remarks on it. I guess most people don't know about this. Many don't care about copyrights either...
    I am glad you dropped by because I enjoyed this postage so much. In my city we have a ill and there are a couple of footprints there too. I never saw it only photos. But there are really huge! What a nice park. My nephew would love it!

  4. Hi! My nephew and my sister came here to dinner and I showed them your huge dino footprints photos. My nephew is fascinated!:)

  5. Hi Belinha! Thank you so much for visiting and commenting! I'm so pleased that your nephew enjoyed the photos. Seeing the prints in person is awesome, so I hope you get a chance to visit the footprints in your city. Portugal apparently has some wonderful fossilized dinosaur remains, eggs, and footprints.

    As for the Pinterest discussion, I just found this post you should read... It is written by an attorney who goes into detail about the legal aspects and problems.

    And I think your English is very good. :) Thanks again for visiting!

  6. Oh, thank you so much for that link. I will read it tomorrow. Now is too late already. I just missed a good job offer because my spoken english isn't good enough. I tried to explain that it would improve fast in a proper environment! Nowadays I only use it to speak to tourists that visit the beach in the summer. I'm glad I started this blog in english - it helps me not to forget it. But I have difficulties - I have a dictionary on the desk, all the time! You're right, I must go to that dinossaur track with my nephew.That place where I slept at Oporto it was really cheap and nice. I will stay there again probably. The girl told me that they will open a new house soon with marvellous garden in the back. Most old houses in the centre of the city have a backyard garden.If I had the money I would by one!I just love that city, you know, it's a strange feeling. You would love it too. Lots of spots to take incredible photos.I can't get enough of Oporto's photos. I have lots of them on Facebook!!Must go now. Zzzzzzzz!!!