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Field Location: Megatracksite (click on link to see
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.