Dinosaur Trackway, Sedona

Having been up and down the Great 48, I can tell you, Arizona is one of the most diverse, interesting places, you can hope to live or visit. Even a number of dinosaur species, large and small, once called Arizona home. There are a number of prints that can be found across the state, some famous, and some lesser-known, like these.

The process of preservation is actually really interesting. With the right blend of water and mud or sand, and a sufficiently deep (and undisturbed) impression, the tracks will, over time, be covered over with layers of sediment, compacted, and hardened. One might think the weight of these different layers of sediment would damage the prints, but really, they help to protect them. This process is known as Lithification.

Eventually, through erosion and weathering, the top layers will wear down, and re-expose the now fossilized prints. What remains is known as a Trace Fossil.

This trackway was preserved in sandstone, and clearly shows front and rear pads, and even claw marks. I’m not sure the reptile to which these belong (although a friend has suggested Ichniotherium, which does appear to be a good match), but each print is small, maybe an inch (or more) across, so clearly not a large animal. If you look closely, you can even see what appears to be ripples of sand, blown by the wind, across the face of the rock. There are a number of other well-preserved tracks in the area. You have to love Arizona!

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