NARRAWAY RIVER SITE

    Fossil footprints from the Narraway River in British Columbia were found in the early 1970's by D.F. Stott and were examined by Philip J. Currie in 1981.  Due to the vertical nature of the tracklayers and their proximity to a high velocity river the only way to observe the tracksite safely was from a helicopter.

   

Photo by Philip J. Currie

(PN 81.30.022 Courtesy of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology and Alberta Community Development)

 

        The Narraway River tracksite was extensive in area and had at least 200+ footprints of mainly small theropods, but it also had a trackway of a large theropod as well.  The large theropod footprints are similar in morphology to those described from the Peace River Canyon by C.M. Sternberg (Irenesauripus mclearni) and (for purpose of scale) are approximately 50cm in length.  This site is significant because the large theropod trackway shows evidence of the trackmaker coming to a stop, turning and proceeding in a direction perpendicular to its original course.  This is one of a very few sites in the world where that show a large theropod stopping in its tracks and changing course.

 

(Click on theropod prints for close-up)

                                                               Photo by Philip J. Currie                                         (Trackway map from Sampson & Currie, 1996)

      (PN 81.30.013 Courtesy of the  Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology

                    and Alberta Community Development))

This site was impressive enough for National Geographic to be interested in photographing it in 1991 for their magazine.  Unfortunately, this rare site with its amazing potential for research had collapsed into the river sometime since Phil's last visit in 1981.  This was not the end of bad news for dinosaur tracks in western Canada that year (or even that week!) as the following morning revealed the fact that the backup site for the National Geographic shoot (E2-Pit) at Grande Cache had slipped into oblivion perhaps only a few hours before the photographers and researchers arrived to do the shoot.

    From close examinations of the Narraway River photographs from 1981 it seems that there is at least one tracklayer below the trackbed that failed which means that there is potential for more trackways at this site.