million year old Dinosaur Tracks in the Paluxy River bed.
US Highway 67 to FM 205 for 4 miles to Park Road 59; then one mile
to the park headquarters
State Park -
Plight of the Pleurocoeleus by Clay Coppedge
Dinosaur Tracks on the Banks of the Paluxy River
March 17 , 2008 column
"... Near Glen
Rose, at the appropriately named Dinosaur Valley State Park, on
the banks of the Paluxy River and in the riverbed itself, are some
remarkably well preserved Pleurocoeleus tracks. These are some of
the best dinosaur tracks in the world, which is why paleontologists
love the park and have ever since Roland T. Bird of the American Museum
of Natural History visited the site in 1938. Bird realized that a
set of double tracks showed a herbivorous sauropod —most likely our
boy, the Pleurocoeleus — being chased by a meat-eating carnosaur.
|This was the
first time sauropod tracks had been discovered anywhere in the world,
which caused no small amount of excitement back in New York. The Glen
Rose tracks were duly sent to New York and displayed at the American
Museum of Natural History. The Pleurocoeleus obviously couldn't get
away from the site fast enough on that particular day, but since then
its tracks have been scattered hither and yon, to the Texas Memorial
Museum in Austin and, unfortunately,
into the private residences of many amateurs, or vandals, depending
on how you look at these things.
The dinocaur tracks are a major wonder but it’s a small wonder that
any tracks are left here at all. People complain that all the “good”
tracks have been removed from the Paluxy River valley. A woman in
Rose told me that a lot of area families have a quarried dinosaur
track or two in their homes. “You usually see them on people’s living
room wall,” she said.
It took a special set of circumstances to preserve the tracks for
all these millions of years. Scientists believe that a violent storm
blew across the shoreline a few days before the tracks were made and
created a series of sand and lime-laden mudflats. A herd of Pleurocoeleus
came ambling across the sticky and still-wet mud in search of a primordal
salad, followed in interested pursuit by the carnosaurs looking for
some fresh sauropods; the Pleurocoeleus qualified.
True to their pacifistic nature, the Pleurocoeleus tried to run away
but we don't know if they won that particular footrace or not. No
intact skeleton remains were ever found, just huge saucer-like depressions
from their hind feet and smaller tracks, much like horseshoes, from
their front legs.
The primal, existential struggle for food and survival was preserved
in stone when the seashore turned to stone, leaving behind the rocks
we see in the park today, including the ones with the dinosaur prints...
we know about the state dinosaur by Clay Coppedge 7-1-18
"... The changing of the guard in the Texas dinosaur hierarchy
started in 2007, when Peter Rose, then at Southern Methodist University
in Dallas, disputed the long-held identity of the Paluxy River sauropod.
Rose took a close look at sauropod bones at the Jones Ranch near Glen
Rose and determined that the bones he found there didn't match the
Pleurocoeleus bones first found in Maryland in the late 1800s.
Rose surmised that the bones belonged to a completely new genus and
species, and he renamed the Paluxy River sauropods Paluxysaurus
jonesi in honor of the river and the Jones Ranch. He saw the
original identification as an honest mistake.
"At the time sauropod tracks and bones were first discovered in Texas,
only Pleurocoeleus was known from North America for this particular
time period," Rose told LiveScience in 2009. "In 1974, Wann Langston,
Jr. described some sauropod fossils from Central Texas that he determined
to be similar enough to those from Maryland that he referred them
to genus Pleurocoeleus."
In January of 2009, State Rep. Charles Geren (R-Fort Worth), acting
on behalf of the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, introduced
a resolution to name the Paluxysaurus the new state dinosaur. Representatives
Mike Hamilton and Mark Homer showed up in dinosaur suits to make some
kind of point, though Hamilton compromised the cause by mixing up
the words "extinct" and "instinct."
Representative Dan Gattis opposed the bill and cited international
fourth-grade spelling bee and grammar rules, claiming "the author
can't even spell or pronounce all the words in his resolution." The
resolution passed by a vote of 132-1, and Texas ended up with a new
state dinosaur. "
State Park? You can't miss it!
Photo courtesy William
Beauchamp, July 2009
- William Beauchamp provides scale
Photo courtesy William
Beauchamp, July 2009
State Park Information
P O Box 396 Glen
Rose TX 76043