Friday, September 11, 2015

Tyrannosaur footpath found near Tumbler Ridge

A university student exposed a huge and rare dinosaur footprint, in Tumbler Ridge, B.C., from the same family of top predators as the T.Rex.

Carina Helm, a 20-year-old UBC student, was out repairing some local boardwalks in the area when her father pointed out the region was rich in fossilized specimens.
"Before that I had never realized the area we're in is the right age for bearing fossils," she told CBC.
She realized that she might have stumbled across a dinosaur pathway earlier that summer when she was out berry picking with her friends, so the pair determined to take a short detour back to that site. 

"The very first rock I looked at had this enormous track-shape," she recalled. "At first, I thought it wasn't anything because it was so big and I had never seen anything like that before, but after looking at it for a bit, I felt you could absolutely see three toes there," she said.
They called the local paleontologist who examined the specimen and determined it's one of 14 unusual tyrannosaurs worldwide.
"It's appealing big. It's a single footprint and it's fairly large, nearly 60 cm in length and from its shape, it's simple to tell it's from a large meat-eating dinosaur," said Richard McCrea, a palaeontologist at the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre in Tumbler Ridge, B.C.
"It can sometimes be a challenge to recognize the maker of a single print, particularly one that has been weathered by the elements. Even with the tips of the digits eroded away, the track establish by Carina Helm still possesses characteristics that make it particular as the product of a meat-eating dinosaur."
He speculated the track might have even been larger as the tip and claw of the best toe have been eroded away.
He says the research centre plans to pick up the specimen and bring it back to the museum for defense, and go back to the area for further examination.
"If Carina could find this track ... we might find a lot more footprints or trackways in the area, which would be interesting," he said.

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