112-million-year-old dinosaur tracks in Moab, Utah, were damaged by heavy machinery, according to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The machinery was brought in to rebuild a boardwalk for tourists at Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail. The damage is reportedly minor, but there are fractures around the delicate imprints.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, a backhoe had also driven across prehistoric crocodile tracks multiple times. Fortunately, visitors noticed the damage and reported it to the Bureau of Land Management, who halted the construction.
An existing vacancy for a regional paleontologist is partially blamed for the damage, as no paleontologist was consulted for the original assessment prior to the beginning of construction. A new environmental assessment, set to be completed this summer, will include a paleontologist.
“To ensure this does not happen again, we will follow the recommendations in the assessment, seek public input, and work with the paleontology community as we collectively move forward on constructing boardwalks at the interpretive site.” – U.S. Bureau of Land Management according to the Associated Press
Image Credit: BLMUtah