New dinosaur tracks emerge in Texas park as drought causes water to recede

GLEN ROSE — As he methodically walks the rugged limestone terrain with nothing more than a meter stick, Glen Kuban talks fast, delving out millenniums of history in a matter of

minutes. The rain is coming, he says. This is a race against time. “We have a rare opportunity now to observe tracks that are usually under mud and water,” Kuban, an

independent dinosaur track researcher, told The Dallas Morning News on a sweltering summer day in Dinosaur Valley State Park, about 80 miles southwest of Dallas. That

opportunity was created by this year’s record-breaking drought. As heat waves kept temperatures in the triple digits for weeks and a rain-free streak spanned more than two months,

the U.S. Drought Monitor said Somervell County, where the park sits, was experiencing “exceptional” drought — the most severe classification. In a silver lining of sorts, most of

the park’s main riverbed dried out, bringing at least 45 never-before-seen tracks to light. With showers in the forecast, park staff only had a matter of days to clean, map

and study the tracks before they were recovered in mud, silt and water. But that’s far from where the story started — 113 million years ago to be exact — so Kuban takes a

breath, and starts from the beginning. From ocean to river During the Cretaceous Age, dinosaurs left tracks in the soft mud of a shallow sea that once covered central

Texas.