Ornithopod was Here


With the 710 foot Glen Canyon dam rising above us to the right, tightly tucked between red sandstone walls that shunted the Colorado River southwest to the Grand Canyon, it would have been easy to overlook a single slab of rock beside the metal dock-way to our raft.  But a student from Northern Arizona University waved me over and quietly pointed out the imprinted stone.  “They don’t want people to know it’s there,” he whispered.  It being the fossiled footprint of a three-toed dinosaur.

The 2009 discovery of another ornithopod-like fossil track further down in the canyon may date the bird-footed herbivores to 25 million years earlier than previously recorded.

The Navajo sandstone of Glen Canyon is etched with histories of ancient people and creatures: primitive petroglyphs and prehistoric fossil prints,  hidden and revealed over time as the water levels rise and fall, making a river glide through Glen Canyon a visually stunning trip through time.

9 Comments to Ornithopod was Here

  1. Wow, fossiled footprint of a three-toed dinosaur.

    It takes millions of year to turn me into a fossil.

  2. Nice find. Even if you had some help.

  3. The canyon does have a fascinating history, with treasures around.

  4. You have such amazing photographs! I always love the narration along with them too!

  5. Wow. That’s fascinating. I never heard about this but I great the footprint was cool to see up close.

  6. Hi,
    Wow. That’s fascinating.The canyon does have a fascinating history, with treasures around.

  7. Rainfield: I think you need to leave a deep impression of your footstep the next time you hike that jungle trail and call it a “fossil to be”.
    Delmer: Not entirely sure what made him decide to show me, but I was glad he did!
    Graham: That raft ride is one I’d gladly do again. More stories to come.
    Thanks Patrick. It’s always more fun with a camera, huh?
    Fly Girl: I had to snap that photo very quickly while leaning over a rail (and wearing a safety helmet!).
    Find Cheap Flights: There is so much more I’d have liked to explore around there. It’s definitely a place I’ll visit again.

  8. What a great find (even if aided) to see such history in real life. Looking for fossils in his local area is what started David Attenborough’s lifetime quest to explore and present the fauna and flora of our planet.

  9. Hi Mark! That’s interesting to know about David Attenborough. It’s an enchanting and intriguing area. So many stories from both the distant and more recent past (heard a good one about kayakers being chased by the park service!).

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