GLEN ROSE, Texas – Dinosaur tracks that are believed to be over 113 million years old were recently discovered in Texas, turning the once quiet Dinosaur Valley State Park into the center of every paleontologist’s dream.
Drought conditions that ranged from extreme to exceptional along the Paluxy River aided in the discovery in the small town outside of Fort Worth, Texas.
"Due to the excessive drought conditions this past summer, the river dried up completely in most locations, allowing for more tracks to be uncovered here in the park," the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said. "Under normal river conditions, these newer tracks are underwater and are commonly filled in with sediment, making them buried and not as visible."
The agency said the drought helped to expose limestone at the bottom of the river, which contained the tracks believed to be from an Acrocanthosaurus.
The Acrocanthosaurus was a carnivore and stood about 15 feet tall. The predator is thought to have weighed about 7 tons.
The sighting isn’t the first for the park, officials said they have previously discovered tracks belonging to other Acrocanthosauruses as well as the much larger Sauroposeidon.
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The Sauroposeidon was a herbivore and is thought to have been 60 feet tall and weighed about 44 tons.
The United States Geological Survey said fossils from both species have been found in Texas, Oklahoma and other locations around the Great Plains because it was one of the regions during the Mesozoic era that wasn’t underwater.
Visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of the new discovery might be out of luck, thanks to heavy rainfall over the past week in North Texas.
Areas around the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex reported seeing more than 9 inches of rain since Sunday, which caused flooding of some streams and rivers.
The water level of the Paluxy River rose enough to bury the recently discovered tracks, but park officials said the rains could help protect the historical finds from weathering.
"Tracks being buried under layers of sediment do help protect them," a park spokesperson said. "While these newer dinosaur tracks were visible for a brief amount of time, it brought about the wonder and excitement about finding new dinosaur tracks at the park."