Everybody Walk The Dinosaur

'Dance floor' of dino prints found in Utah/Arizona national monument
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'Dance floor' of dino prints found in Utah/Arizona national monument

We don't usually think of T. Rex as being much of hoofer; those tiny arms would be terrible for leading. But paleontologists are referring to a just-discovered collection of dinosaur prints in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument as "a dinosaur dance floor" because of the sheer amount and density of fossil footprints found there.

"This kind of reminded me of that - a dinosaur dance floor - because there are so many tracks and a variety of different tracks. There must have been more than one kind of dinosaur there," (Professor Marjorie Chan from the University of Utah said). "It was a place that attracted a crowd, kind of like a dance floor."

Researchers found over 1,000 prints clustered in a small area in Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, which lies on the Utah/Arizona border. Though the area had been known to science before, geologists thought the prints were simply potholes created by erosion. Instead, paleontologists now think the 190-million-year-old footprints belong to at least four species of dinosaurs ranging in age from juveniles to adults. The rock also features impressions of tail-drag marks as long as seven meters.

While we can't be exactly sure what drew such a preponderance of species to the same place, scientists speculate that the area may have been a prehistoric watering hole. Or maybe it had a really killer DJ on Ladies' Night.

—Ted Alvarez

Dino Dance Floor Found In Southwestern US (Red Orbit)