Copper Ridge Dinosaur Tracksite

Copper Ridge Dinosaur Tracksite

*music starts* – Hi! I’m Natalie, and I’m going to be your guide as we explore the amazing network of dinosaur tracksites in and around Moab. From Copper Ridge to the Dinosaur Stomping Grounds, we’ve got your science adventure completely covered. These videos can give you a small glimpse into the amazing natural history of these priceless sites. That being said, welcome to the Copper Ridge Tracksite. Follow me. Featuring several well-preserved dinosaur tracks, this 150 million year old Morrison Formation tracksite is well worth a visit. There are tracks from both long-necked plant eating sauropod dinosaurs, and three-toed meat eating dinosaurs that were probably made by Allosaurus. While there are multiple interpretive signs along the site, we have the opportunity to meet up with some site experts: John Foster, director of the Museum of Moab, and BLM paleontologist ReBecca Hunt-Foster, who can provide some more insight and expertise to this tracksite. – Hi ReBecca and John! Thanks for being out here. So as I was walking up, I saw some really interesting looking tracks, and I know that tracks are fossils. – That’s right. Tracks are actually trace fossils, and we have lots of trace fossils in this area, and they are different than body fossils, which would be things like dinosaur bones. – Oh, okay. And then, as we’re looking at these tracks here, I know that they’re really special for Utah. Can you tell me a little bit why? – Yeah, well, we’ve got two main trackways here. The big one that we are standing next to right now is of a sauropod, which are the giant long-neck long-tail animals, and it was actually the first sauropod trackway found in Utah. And it’s also unique in that it’s in the process of making a right turn. Basically, trackways preserve behavior of animals. And then our other main trackway over this way is of a large meat-eating dinosaur, something like Allosaurus. And it’s a similar track type to ones that have been found in Europe, showing that some of the same animals lived both in North America and Europe back 150 million years ago. – Wow, that’s super interesting. Alright, cool! Well, I’m going to go check out the theropod track. I’ll see you guys later! – Alright! – The Copper Ridge Tracksite is a critical record of our natural past that must be respected, as well as protected. Unfortunately, as more and more people make their way out to enjoy these amazing paleontological sites, looting and vandalism have come as a result. We can all agree that this type of activity is not only unacceptable, but also illegal. And sometimes, people like you and me may be unintentionally participating in activities like this and have no idea that we’re doing it. So, how can we know, and how can we minimize that impact during our visit to these wonderful public spaces? Well, let’s start with three simple things. One: when we’re out discovering, let’s leave fossils in place. Even making replicas with plaster or silicone can damage these irreplaceable treasures. Two: we should always use existing trails. And three: if we find a fossil exposed or in danger, let’s leave it in place and contact the appropriate authorities at the BLM office here in Moab. We can document them with photos or GPS coordinates, but we should never touch or remove them. Thanks for joining me at the tracksite today! Remember, these are your lands. Let’s respect them and protect them. *music starts*

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