Dinosaurs in Texas

Professor takes students on trip to Glen Rose

By Patrick Fleming
On April 6, 2017

Contributed from Fawn Last

On April 1, 10 ASU students travelled with Dr. Fawn Last to the city of Glen Rose so that they could see footprints left behind by dinosaurs and even hold the fossils of ancient shelled creatures.

The trip was one of many that the Geology Department puts together. Each of which focuses on learning different techniques to identifying rocks and gaining a better understanding of what the world used to look like.

This trip was different than others due to its focus on dinosaur behavior.

"I have been on over a dozen trips since starting here at ASU in 2015," Last, assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Geosciences, said. "I feel that this is the best way to get students interested in geology if they are non-geology majors and a way to give geology majors hands on field experience."

It was for this trip that students went to the Dinosaur Valley State Park.

Though there were no dinosaur fossils, there were many tracks that once belonged to dinosaurs, mainly including the Acrocanthosaurus, a smaller relative of the Tyrannosaurus-Rex and the Sauroposedion proteles, which was a large brontosaurus type of herbivore.

The visitors of this park saw some of these by wading through the shallow rivers of the area as well as hiking through some of the surrounding area.

Students also listened to one of the park rangers explain how these tracks were left behind by these creatures over 113 million years ago.  

They also did a short hike where they also got a good look at some fossils of some shelled creatures.

There was an outcrop outside of the park where students were able to search for and collect the fossils of these shelled creatures.

While some of the fossils were easy to see, some of them required the students to break through rock to find and collect them.

"The footprints were terrific but I really enjoyed seeing the students get excited about geology when they found fossils," Dr. Last continued.

Students found themselves even more excited when told that they could keep these fossils and bring them home with them. Most of who jumped at the opportunity, keeping these souvenirs.

"I really enjoyed the trip especially since I like dinosaurs, it was so much fun and if I could go back I would. I met new people and took tons of pictures, all while getting soaked in the river." Jaelyn Holmes, one of the students who went on the trip, said. "It was a great way to get back in touch with nature and its beauty and I can honestly say that going on this trip was a great decision."

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