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Tiny Footprints, Big Discovery: Reptile Tracks Oldest Ever Found in Grand Canyon



  footprint UNLV geologist Stephen Rowland discovered that a series of 28 footprints left by a reptile-like creature 310 million years ago is the oldest ever found in the Grand Canyon National Park CREDIT: Stephen Rowland [19659004] A professor of geology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, found that a series of 28 footprints left behind by a reptile-like creature 31

0 million years ago is the oldest ever found in the Grand Canyon National Park.

The fossil track covers a fallen boulder that now rests along the Bright Angel Trail in the national park. Rowland presented her findings at the recent annual meeting of the Vertebrate Paleontology Society.

"It is the oldest track ever discovered in the Grand Canyon in a range of rocks that no one thought had any tracks in it, and they are among the first reptiles on earth," said Rowland

Rowland said he is not willing to say that they are the oldest traces of their kind ever discovered, but it is a possibility, while it is still doing research for the discovery. "In terms of traces of reptiles, this is really old," he said, adding that the tracks were created while the supercontinent Pangea was beginning to form.

Rowland was first warned on the tracks in spring 2016 by a colleague who was walking the path with a group of students. The boulder ended up along the trail after the collapse of a cliff

A year later, Rowland studied the footsteps closely.

"My first impression was that it looked very bizarre because of the lateral movement," Rowland said. . "It seemed like two animals were walking side by side, but you would not expect two lizard-like animals to walk side by side." It made no sense. " When he got home, he made detailed drawings, and began to formulate hypotheses about the "peculiar line dance" left by the creature.

"One reason I proposed is that the animal was walking in a very strong wind and the wind was blowing sideways," he said

Another possibility is that the slope was too steep and l & # 39; Animal climbed over while the sand dune was climbing. Or, Rowland said, the animal was fighting with another creature, or engaged in a mating ritual.

"I do not know if we will be able to choose strictly between these possibilities," he said.

He plans to publish his findings together with geologist Mario Caputo of San Diego State University in January. Rowland also hopes the boulder will soon be placed in the Grand Canyon National Park's geology museum for both scientific and interpretive purposes.

Meanwhile, Rowland said the footprints could belong to a reptile species that has never been discovered [19659005] "It could have been whoever the trackmaker was, his bones were never recorded," he said Rowland.


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