Millions of years ago, a sea covered a large portion of the land that is now the United States. During this time, dinosaurs called Sauropods and Theropods roamed North Texas. Some experts* say they were geocaching, potentially looking for terrain five geocaches. These giant reptiles left footprints in the soft mud that have been preserved for millions of years. And until this documentary becomes a (terrifying) reality, finding the Dinosaur Valley Earthcache (GCQMHY) might be as close as we can get to living dinosaurs.
The dino footprints that you’ll see while you’re in the park were made about 113 million years ago during the Cretaceous period. The tracks were discovered in the early 1900s, however they did not become famous until 1937 when palentologist R.T. Bird saw them while collecting fossils. Bird continued exploring the Paluxy River looking for more prints and eventually uncovered a large Sauropod and Theropod trackway.
As you follow in the footsteps of these dinosaurs, you might be wondering what these beasts looked like. The three-toed footprints are most likely from Acrocanthosaurus, a smaller relative of T-Rex. These meat-eating, giant lizards were about 20–30 feet long.
The round and smaller hoof-like footprints come from Sauropods. This group of dinosaurs are large plant-eaters that walked on all fours. Bones found in 1996 led to the discovery that the tracks belonged to a new species of dinosaur: Paluxysaurus jonesi. At 60–70 feet long and 12 feet tall, these giants became the official dinosaur of Texas in 2009.
To earn your smiley for this Earthcache, you’ll have to answer a few dino-related questions. Although the questions aren’t easy to answer, that hasn’t deterred geocachers from experiencing this amazing place. “We love Earth caches for the education that they provide, and this one was no exception. It was amazing to walk in the same footsteps as the dinosaurs!” said geocacher BANDA in their log.
These amazing tracks were discovered by someone searching in the woods. What’s the most amazing (and appropriate) thing you’ve discovered while searching for a geocache? Tell us in the comments.
If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, send an email with your name, comments, the name of the geocache, and the GC code to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*experts at Geocaching HQ