Clues in the rocks

You find an amazing footprint, it’s so detailed you can even see the texture of the dinosaur skin! Sometimes you can also find clues that show you how a dinosaur was moving.

Lisa: Looking at ankylosaur footprints again. So we’ve got toe, toe, and it gets a little funky over here. Then the back of foot. There’s skin impressions.

Lisa traces around a fossilized partial ankylosaur footprint sticking out from a boulder next to a road.

Richard: Let’s take a look at the skin impressions.

Little bumps of skin texture are visible on the heel of the footprint.

Lisa: Lumpy texture right there and there’s also slide marks.

Richard: You can see exit striations.

Lisa traces her finger along several straight lines that are visible at the back of the footprint.

Lisa: So as the tubercles, the grips on the bottom of the dinosaur’s foot slid into the muck, it left these little grooves.

Richard: Skin impressions are, well, there are more people noticing them more now, but not too long ago, twenty-some years ago, there were only a few footprints, Cretaceous dinosaur footprints that had been found with skin impressions. So it’s always nice to see those.