Late last week Dr. Tony Fiorillo and his team were wrapping up work at the site near the road and preparing to helicopter out to another undisclosed location for a week of investigating a site he’s not ready to disclose much about, but they just published a report about the lake bed site in the journal “Geology.” They found a huge number of tracks there.
Their analysis of those tracks shows that these duck-billed Hadrosaur dinosaurs formed herds and fell into four age categories, indicating a social structure in which young dinosaurs were cared for by older ones.
They could obtain that fine detail because of the quality of the tracks. They can see the actual texture of the animals’ skin, which means its not just deeper mud compressed by the great weight of the dinosaur, but the actual spot on the surface where the foot went down.
These dinosaur social groups were walking in an Arctic warmer than today, with a temperature range similar to that of wintertime Tokyo – not really freezing much, if at all. And the site was definitely some sort of water hole.
Along with the Hadrosaur foot impressions, the scientists have found fossil plant impressions and the tracks of another Dinosaur species – a strange feathered one that is mostly seen in Asia. That’s one of the things they were looking for this year, and found, Fiorillo said.
Most of Fiorillo’s documentation ends up in the Perot Museum in Texas but some of it has now gone into an exhibit at the park’s Murie Science Learning Center.