desert · fossils · Historical Landmarks · Roadside Attractions

Dinosaur Footprints Arizona

There was a big tacky sign aside the road reading “Dinosaur footprints!” with a depiction of… Godzilla mixed with a critter and dressed up in psychedelic colors? I’m not sure what the artist was trying to say there… but with a sign that confused how could I not stop? I had a suspicion it was a tourist trap where unwary tourists disappear never to be heard from again. At the time this seemed a fair enough risk. It actually wasn’t bad! I was flagged down as I drove in by a guy standing next to a jewelry stand. He proceeded to take us on a tour, showing us all sorts of footprints from allosaur and velociraptor and two others that either weren’t identified or I forgot. Oddly no herbivorous footprints but I did see baby velociraptor footprints bounding along next to their mommy and one set of baby allosaur footprints ambling alongside its mommy. The neatest part was a track showing where a velociraptor was running full speed, jumped, and then slid in the mud before gaining its balance again. It painted the picture of an athletic and perhaps somewhat clumsy creature. I could imagine them playing in the mud a bit like a big cat.

I was also shown a dinosaur ribcage still embedded in the rock as well as a claw and lots and lots of dinosaur poop. I was given a chip of fossilized vegetation, a little coprolite (fossilized poo) and a sliver of petrified wood found here as well as some red rocks the locals use to make jewelry. I think this may have been just because the guy liked me (I showed genuine interest and didn’t bring any screaming destructive children.) At the end of the tour I was happy and gave our tour guide a tip/donation for the journey back into time. It was really rather neat! He also told me where to find some Anasazi petroglyphs that were about to be fenced off from the public due to vandalism. That pisses me right off by the way… vandals who destroy precious pieces of history like petroglyphs from the eleventh century from an extinct tribe! What the hell! Keep your kids on a fucking leash if they’re the type that does this! I’ll end my rant here.

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