DINOSAUR PARK FORMATION

(Campanian/Maastrichtian)


Dinosauar Provincial Park is well known for its extensive dinosaur bone beds which have been the subject of collection and research spanning two centuries. The record of vertebrate tracks from this area was essentially non-existent until 1981 when in situ two tracks were found near Quarry 155 by Tyrrell researchers. One track was whole while the other was incomplete.

                                                    Natural cast of a dinosaur print (TMP 81.34.01) near Q155                                          Jacketing TMP 81.34.01 by Tyrrell staff

(Photographs PN81.15.01 & PN 81.15.13courtesy of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology and Alberta Community Development)

 

The footprint was carefully excavated and jacketed prior to removal and was later put on display in the D.P.P. Field Station (see below). The track specimen had been beat up by erosion and its identification is uncertain.

 

TMP 81.34.01 on display

 

A second track was discovered in a rock garden next to the D.P.P. Field Station more than a decade after the first, this time clearly a natural cast of a theropod print (see below).

 

TMP93.36.282 - Natural cast of a theropod track

 

To date only the above two prints have been collected from D.P.P., but additional finds have been made. Another track specimen was found near Q155 very similar to TMP 81.34.01 in morphology and composition. Heavily weathered tracks have also been found near Q004 and are virtually unidentifiable. Most recently a larger site near Q128 has yielded over eight track specimens in various stages of weathering (see below)

                                        Natural casts of footprints found near Q128 (scale = 10cm)                                  Researchers documenting new tracksite (black arrow is pointing to main track in left photo

                                                                                                                                                                                        and white arrows are other eroded track specimens)

Most of the tracks found in D.P.P. are very iron-rich, similar in composition to ironstone concrections which are very abundant in the park. There is little doubt that tracks have been overlooked because of their similarity of appearance to concretions.