Footprints of dino chase digitally reconstructed

A digital reconstruction of the world's most famous dinosaur footprints has given researchers a way to preserve the path, which is physically deteriorating.

P. Falkingham et al/PLOS ONE 2014

Footprints of a T. rex-type dinosaur chasing an Apatosaurus-like animal have been turned into a 3-D fly-through, giving researchers a way to verify maps of the tracks drawn 70 years ago.

The tracks, from the Paluxy River in Texas, are among the most famous dinosaur footprints in the world. But the pathway has been under threat since paleontologists excavated, divided and moved some of the prints to museums, and others have been lost.

The digital reconstruction made from photos taken in the 1940s and published April 2 in PLOS ONE demonstrates how paleontological, geological or archaeological sites that have been physically destroyed but are documented in photographs can continue to be studied, the researchers say.

DINO WALK  This is the first time anyone has viewed the entire 45-meter trail in 3-D since its excavation in 1940.
Credit: P. Falkingham et al/PLOS ONE 2014

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

More Stories from Science News on Paleontology