People can cause serious trouble even when they have no intention to do so. Some tourists who visited the Red Fleet State Park in Utah mistook dinosaur footprints for regular rocks and threw them in the lake. It took the park officials some time to realize what was happening, and they are now urging everyone not to pick up anything from the dinosaur track.
People mistook the dinosaur footprints for regular rocks
Disturbing ancient fossils sounds like a bad thing to happen, especially in a place where there are hundreds of dinosaur footprints. Discarding of them counts as vandalism, even if this happens without the person’s knowledge of the origin of the rocks. Now, park rangers and officials have issued a serious announcement asking everyone to leave the fossils alone.
This is not the first time when people are mistaking dinosaur footprints for rocks. Tourists have always been disturbing the fossils and throwing them in the nearby lake. However, this behavior became even more common over the past six months.
Park officials took serious measures to stop tourists from discarding the tracks
During this time, park officials assumed about 10 dinosaur footprints were destroyed. Some of those were extremely old and had a huge scientific value, so they decided to take serious measures. They added new signs along the dinosaur track where they asked people not to pick up any rocks.
Most of these dinosaur footprints had been preserved in sandstone and were probably left by a theropod from Early Jurassic, Dilophosaurus. Red Fleet State Park was most probably a swamp during those times, and these creatures were among the biggest predators of the era. Later, theropods started growing even bigger.
These footprints aren’t fossils in the technical sense of the way, but the law of the state regards them as such. However, they can help scientists discover more about the creatures that left them, so they shouldn’t be destroyed. Getting into contact with water can cause permanent damage on them, so throwing them in the lake is the least recommended thing to do.
Image source: Flickr