BU Researchers Aiding Work On Dinosaur Tracks

July 30, 1997

WACO, Texas - Dr. Rena Bonem, professor of geology at Baylor University, and four students are currently participating in a research project of dinosaur tracks recently discovered in Boerne, Texas.

Their research suggests that the tracks come from the species of dinosaur called iguandon or acrocanthosaurus, a smaller version of the tyrannosaurus dinosaur. Bonem said the tracks date from more than 100 million years ago.

Research of the tracks shows small and large sets of footprints, which may suggest family behavior among the reptiles. Also, a change in direction in a set of the tracks and increased space between footprints suggest flight or pursuit of something by one of the reptiles.

Members of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) discovered the tracks while assessing heavy erosion that had taken place in Boerne following heavy flooding in the area. The NRCS contacted the Baylor geology department to help assess the scientific value of the site. Bonem said the site needs special care to preserve its educational value.

"The tracks were not well preserved and won't last long in the weather," she said. "They probably will be best used as an educational tool for children."

The Baylor geology department conducts extensive research in dinosaur tracks and takes freshmen geology students to a site in Glen Rose each year. Former student Mike Hawthorne, also part of the research team, specialized in dinosaur tracks while earning bachelor's and master's degrees from Baylor.

The Baylor team has conducted measurements of the tracks and has made casts of the tracks. Bonem said NRCS representatives and city of Boerne officials have begun negotiations to preserve the site.

For more information, contact Bonem at (254) 755-2361

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