Calling All Tracks

Before the snow was off the ground and the ice was out of the canyons the P.R.P.R.C. palaeontologists were already at work in the field with the objective of recovering several large trackslabs that had been discovered in previous years.

The first priority specimen was a slab with juvenile ankylosaur tracks on it which had eroded out of the banks into the middle of a creek.

Track slab covered with debris in the middle of a creek in early April, 2005


Track slab with debris removed and in better light.

The slab was estimated to weigh over 5000lbs, much to heavy to move. As the trackway was located on one end of the slab it was decided to trim away the excess rock. The palaeontologists used a rocksaw to cut through the slab. Of course with quite a lot of the slab under the rising waters of the creek the slab had to be jacked up before the saw could work.

P.R.P.R.C. palaeontologist Rich McCrea putting a jack in position under a part of the slab to lift it out of the water.


PRPRC palaeontologist Lisa Buckley and employee Denise McWhirter making good progress on the trackslab.

Once the rock-sawing was accomplished the rock weighed only 1700lbs.

During the course of the rock cutting the palaeontologists also found additional footprints and trackways as well as fossil leaf remains.

A large fossil angiosperm leaf from the track area.

The track slab was moved to the P.R.P.R.C. collections where it will be studied and eventually put on display for all to enjoy.