Case Study: The Dakota Megatracksite

   The Dakota megatracksite extends several hundreds of kilometers from Boulder and Denver, Colorado at the northern edge, to Clayton and Mosquero Creek, New Mexico in the south.  The large area is considered one site since the dinosaur tracks it contains are very similar and they occur in rocks at similar stratigraphic levels.  The majority of tracks found are randomly oriented ornithopod tracks.  The abundance of similar tracks at the same stratigraphic levels led to the conclusion that an ornithopod-dominated community lived in this large area for an extended period of time.  The tracks are preserved in sandstones and shales that have been interpreted to have come from an extensive coastal plain environment of the Cretaceous.  What makes this site interesting is that the dinosaur tracks provided the ONLY evidence for the dinosaur community--no bones have been found at the site.