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Geology of Utah National Parks Syllabus

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Field Location: Megatracksite
Geologic Feature: Megatracksite. Therapod tracks.
Necessary Background Information: Introduction to basic types of dinosaur tracks and track makers. 
Geologic Problem: Determine the size and speed of three of the organisms that made tracks at this location.
Rock Units Exposed: Jurassic Entrada Sandstone and Morrison Formation.
Skills: Methods for observing and recording information about tracks.
Other Questions to Consider: 1) Why is it important when making interpretations to propose the simplest possible explanation for what is observed? 2) How can the quality of tracks' preservation influence interpretations? 3) Where are tracks preserved in modern environments? 4) Why are there no bones preserved here? 5) What must necessarily be the basis of ichnotaxonomy? How can ichnofossils be related to fossils? 6) Why does gravity appear in the equation that we use to calculate dinosaur speed? If these tracks were found on the moon what would we estimate the speed of the organism to be? 7) How accurate are the equations we used for human tracks? Try running and walking in the wash where we park the cars and see if the equations give you reasonable results. If they don't, what is a possible reason for the inaccuracy? 8) Do you think that the equations would be more applicable to sauropod tracks or therapod tracks? Why? 
Anticipated Outcomes: Ability to make and record observations. Ability to input data to formulas and make calculations. Ability to question the validity of results. Understanding of the basis of taxonomy and ichnotaxonomy. Understanding of the methods used to identify tracks and determine their origin.