Herds of Dinos Thrived in ... Alaska?

Thousands of 'world-class' hadrosaur prints discovered in Denali

By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 9, 2014 12:35 PM CDT

(Newser) – Forget seeing Russia from Alaska: Scientists have found a trove of tracks left behind by dinosaurs that once roamed our northernmost state—and some of them are pretty big. A paleontology team discovered a "world-class" trail in the northeast corner of Denali National Park that was littered with thousands of footprints from hadrosaurs (more commonly known as duck-billed dinosaurs) of all ages, reports LiveScience. “We had mom, dad, big brother, big sister, and little babies all running around together," says a paleontologist of the tracks, which ranged in length from 5 inches to 2 feet. "Denali was a family destination for millions of years, and now we've got the fossil evidence for it. This is definitely one of the great track sites of the world."

The discovery, published in the June issue of the journal Geology, seems to back up scientists’ claims that the creature often referred to as the "buffalo of dinosaurs," for its herd mentality, stomped its way around the polar regions during the Late Cretaceous Period about 70 million years ago. It’s not the first time there’s been a dino find in Denali: The National Park Service says the first fossil was unearthed in the park by a college student in 2005, and since then, evidence has been found of beaked ceratopsians, flying pterosaurs, and the bizarrely shaped therizinosaurs. But the scope of this find was particularly exciting for the team. "On one of the last nights, I woke up to an earthquake in the park," the lead scientist says. "For the first time in my life, I wasn’t worried about a big rock [hitting me]. I was worried about my track site sliding down the mountain."

This undated artist rendering provided by the National Geographic Society shows the hadrosaur, nicknamed Dakota, as scientists believe it would have looked, based on their analysis of the fossil evidence.
This undated artist rendering provided by the National Geographic Society shows the hadrosaur, nicknamed Dakota, as scientists believe it would have looked, based on their analysis of the fossil evidence.   (AP Photo/National Geographic Society)
NASA Real World: Dinosaur Named Dakota (2008) - YouTube Video NASA Real World Playlist ?https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJqGwl5eDufWasd7XSwWp_QOHHkzjUjzL In this NASA video segment...
NASA Real World: Dinosaur Named Dakota (2008) - YouTube Video NASA Real World Playlist ?https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJqGwl5eDufWasd7XSwWp_QOHHkzjUjzL In this NASA video segment...   (livingselfsufficient .)
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