Park wants to display more dino tracks

March 19, 2012 at 4:28 PM
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HARTFORD, Conn., March 19 (UPI) -- Dinosaur tracks in Connecticut uncovered in 1966 but reburied in 1976 to protect them from the elements should be seen once again, state geologists say.

Dinosaur State Park near Hartford displays 600 footprints from the Jurassic period under a dome, but the 1,500 additional footprints not seen in 36 years should also be uncovered and made available for public viewing, they argue.

They want to unearth the buried tracks and enclose them in a protective, permanent shelter for inspection by scientists and the public.

"There's been a whole generation of scientists who have never looked at them," Dinosaur State Park Director Margaret Enkler told The Hartford Courant. "The number of people who have seen the full trackway is getting smaller and smaller.''

Enkler and her colleagues are making their case this week before the northeastern section meeting of the Geological Society of America in Hartford.

Dinosaur State Park, listed as a Registered Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior, draws about 50,000 visitors a year.

"The Connecticut Valley is literally a treasure trove of Jurassic Age fossils,'' geologist Nicholas G. McDonald said.

Uncovering the buried footprints could renew interest in the park, he said, and the larger trackway would offer field experience for younger scientists and science educators.

"There really is a need today as an educator to get away from the computer. So much science now you do on your laptop, and the thing that turned me onto geology was being outdoors," he said.

"This is not a virtual image of a dinosaur track, but 2,000 actual tracks.''

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