• Temples and Towers of the Virgin

    Zion

    National Park Utah

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Late Fall Shuttle Schedule

    Starting September 28, the last shuttle leaves the Temple of Sinawava at 7:30 pm. More »

  • Trail Closures Lifted

    The East Rim Trail, from Weeping Rock to Echo Canyon, including Hidden Canyon, is open.

Another Kind of Bigfoot

Grallator Track

Grallator Track

When dinosaurs walked in Zion National Park they left imprints in moist, muddy sediments near watercourses. These tracks remained exposed for a short while, allowing them to become drier and harder. Then the imprints slowly filled with contrasting sediments and eventually were preserved in rock. Subsequent erosion over millions of years removed rock layers exposing tracks like the one shown here.

Dinosaur tracks are rarely found in a location with fossil skeletons of the same animal. Paleontologists give different names to tracks than to dinosaurs, because it is very difficult to link the two. Also, identical tracks were made by several species of dinosaur and individual species determination is rarely possible.

Zion’s museum collection includes the Grallator track shown here and documentation of many additional tracksites in the park. The most probable dinosaur for the creation of the Grallator track is, Megapnosaurus, a lizard-like, 70-pound, carnivorous biped about 10 feet long from the tip of the tail to nose.

Dinosaur tracks provide clues to behavior and paleo-environments. A recent discovery west of Zion contains dozens of parallel trackways heading in the same direction, indicating migratory behavior of several species of dinosaurs along an ancient lakeshore. The tracks helped confirm the presence of Lake Dixie that existed nearly 200 million-years ago.

 
Megapnosaurus

Megapnosaurus

Brad Wolverton/Utah Geological Survey

 
Return to the Fossil Collections main page

Did You Know?

Pa'rus Trail

Zion National Park has a trail where pets are allowed. The Pa'rus Trail winds along the Virgin River for 2 miles at the entrance to Zion Canyon and is also a bicycle path More...