Geopic of the week: Dinosaur tracks in Arkansas

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Pictured above are tracks of an Acrocanthosauras Atokensis: a bi-pedal predatory dinosaur.  The tracks were discovered in 2011 in a gypsum mine north of Nashville Arkansas by workers at the mine.  It is one of two such “dinosaur trackways” – as they are called – that have been discovered in this mine;  The first one was unearthed in 1983.  Dinosaur tracks are not common in Arkansas as most of the rocks here, which are very old, were deposited long before the dinosaurs existed. 

The rocks where the tracks are preserved were deposited in the early Cretaceous Period sometime between 145 and 100 million years ago.  At that time, the area south of the Ouachita Mountains was a broad coastal plain and the Gulf of Mexico waters reached all the way to southern Arkansas.  A variety of dinosaur species tracks, both herbivore and carnivore, have been discovered in these trackways, indicating that the coastal area at that time was quite the dinosaur stomping ground. 

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