Dancing With the Dinos

21 10 2008

Geologists say they have discovered prehistoric animal tracks so densely packed on a 3/4-acre site that they’re calling it a “dinosaur dance floor.”

The site along the Arizona-Utah state line offers a rich new set of clues about the lives of dinosaurs 190 million years ago. The footprints could provide fodder for researchers trying to understand dinosaurs that survived in what many considered a “vast, dry, uninhabitable desert,” said Marjorie Chan, professor of geology at the University of Utah and one of the authors of a new study of the site.

In some places, there are a dozen footprints in a square yard. Tail drag marks were also found.

“It was a place that attracted a crowd, kind of like a dance floor,” Chan said.

Geologist Winston Seiler with some of the dinosaur tracks he identified for his thesis as a University of Utah masters degree student. The impressions once were thought to be potholes.

Geologist Winston Seiler with some of the dinosaur tracks he identified for his thesis as a University of Utah master's degree student. The impressions once were thought to be potholes.

A study identifying the dinosaur track site was published in the October issue of the international paleontology journal Palaios. Chan is senior author of the study, which was conducted for a master’s degree thesis by former graduate student Winston Seiler, who now works at Chevron Inc., in Bakersfield, Calif.

Seiler says the range of track shapes and sizes reveals at least four dinosaur species gathered at the watering hole, with the animals ranging from adults to youngsters.

“The different size tracks [1 inch to 20 inches long] may tell us that we are seeing mothers walking around with babies,” he says.

Researchers identified four different kinds of tracks in the rock but haven’t determined the specific species that left them behind.

Some of the footprints – once thought to be potholes formed by erosion – measure 16 inches across and have three toes and a heel. Others are smaller and more circular.

Read the complete AP story at here.

If scientific data does not convince you that dinosaurs had a dance floor, this video should present enough evidence for anyone.


Examiner Likes our Nerdy Hip Factor!

21 10 2008

National Best

Our Future Paleontologist toddler shirt is featured in Examiner.com’s “Best Hip Todder Shirts” for its “nerdy hip factor.”

Big shout-out to the Examiner for putting us on their “Best of” list!

Crumbling Glaciers Causing Earthquakes

17 10 2008

On the west coast of Greenland, a glacier’s crumbling edge is producing seismic groans. As the Arctic warms, scientists are keeping a close eye the Jakobshavn glacier. Already one of the world’s fastest moving ice streams, over the last decade scientists watched alarmed as it sped up further, sometimes sliding dozens of feet per day toward the Ilulissat Fjord. The heightened activity is having strange side effects. In 2003, scientists first noticed the glacier producing earthquakes between magnitude 4.6 and 5.1 in strength. The quakes happened slowly, over a period of 30 minutes to several hours, and were undetectable by people even though they registered on seismometers around the globe. Now a new study suggests the huge icebergs breaking off the edge of Jakobshavn are to blame. (Editor: See video in sidebar about this glacier, and photos below of another glacier in Greenland.)

Read the rest of the article from Discovery.com

Want to find out How Glaciers Work?

Satellite images of Glacial Disintegration in Greenland

Satellite images of Glacial Disintegration in Greenland (Petermann Glacier)

By the way, do you know where the world’s largest glacier is located?

First the Economy, then Yosemite

10 10 2008

Wall Street is not the only thing that came plummeting down this week.

Yosemite National Park in California has a second rock slide today after chunks of granite crashed to the Yosemite Valley floor in a cloud of dust Wednesday, injuring at least three people and destroying several cabins

The popilar lodging and retails area is defined by dramatic, sheer cliffs.

A park spokesman tells the television station KCRA that the first slide occurred shortly after 7 a.m. Wednesday

The slide destroyed five cabins and partially damaged at least three others, according to a park statement. Three visitors were treated for minor injuries

A park spokesperson said the volume of rocks cascading from the granite face was estimated at about 1,800 cubic yards, or about 180 truck loads.

Source: Associated Press via Yahoo