Gallery MenuThe images in this gallery are arranged primarily by trail or topic, and in some cases, fuirther broken down by years. Each thumbnail images may be clicked on for a larger higher-resolution image. Many of the images have captions immediately under them, and more other captions will be added soon. Also under each image is the file name. Images with a "pxy" prefix were scanned from negatives or slides. Most of these were taken before 2001. Most other photos, primarily taken after 2000, are original digitial images. Some may have been cropped or adjusted for color or contrast, but the original, unaltered images are available in most cases, if needed. Anyone wishing to use or publish any of the photos may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Metatarsal" Dinosaur TracksThe Taylor Site contains many interesting and unique tracks and features. Most of the tracks here show unusually elongated shapes. For many years several of these trails (including the Taylor, Turnage, Ryals, and Giant Run Trails) were often interpreted by young-earth creationists as human footprints. However, they were later shown to be "metatarsal" dinosaur tracks, made by dinosaurs that sometimes impressed their metatarsi (soles and heels) as they walked, unlike most dinosaurs that walked on their toes only. Although most tridactyl tracks in the park were made by the large meat-eating dinosaur, Acrocanthosaurus, most of these metatarsal tracks were evidently made by a more slender and lightly-built dinosaur, possibly an ornithomimid or basal coelurosaur. It was probably omnivorous (feeding on a variety of plants and small animals), and would have somewhat resembled an ostrich.
Implications About Dinosaur BehaviorWhy some of the trackmakers impressed their heels as they walked is uncertain, but may have been down when they crouched down to forage in the mud or shallow water for small food items. Fossils found in the area indicate that these items could have included various snails, clams, oysters, fish, water plants, and shrimp-like crustaceans.
Track Infillings and Coloration FeaturesMost of the metatarsal tracks and others at the site (except the Deep Dino trail) were infilled with a secondary sediment that hardened into the track depressions soon after they were made. In most cases the infilling still largely remains in the tracks, reducing their depths, and making many difficult to see unless the tracks are cleaned well. However, when well cleaned and moistened, many of the track outlines are distinct and dramatic, due to the color and texture contrasts between the infilling material and the surrounding light-colored limestone. In many cases these features clarify the shapes of the dinosaur's feet, toes (and in some cases even claws) far better than the depressions alone.
Core sections (circular drillings) at the margins of the infilling material showed that the original infilling material consisted of a firm, bluish-grey, iron-rich clay. Upon repeated exposure this material oxidizes to become harder and reddish-brown. In some cases it has become so hard and "rusty" that the surrounding limestone is actually eroding around the infilling material--producing tracks with a remarkable "raised" appearance, as seen in the "R" Trail.
Other well-infilled tracks at the site, such as those in the "A" trail, were evidently made by ornithopods, were two legged, plant-eating dinosaurs. Such tracks, which are rare or nonexistent at most other sites in the park, are very wide, well-rounded at the back, and have shorter and blunter toes than those of the meat eating dinosaurs. Which particular ornithopod made the tracks is unknown, but it may have been an iguanodont
IID "Deep Dino" Trail (Incredibly Long Trail)
The only trackway on the Taylor Site not infilled is the IID or "Deep Dino" Trail. It's most unique feature is that it is the longest trail in the Paluxy, and possibly the longest existing dinosaur trail in North America. It originates near the bend in the riverbed over 500 yards downstream, and continues for over 150 steps (with a short gap in a heavily eroded area). After crossing the main part of the Taylor Site, it continues under the north bank, so who knows how many more footprints occur in the rest of the trail! Like most three toes tracks in the park, it was probably made by Acrocanthosaurus.
Other interesting Taylor Site Features
On the southern side of the site is the Ryals Trail, which includes an large oblong hole, reported to be the location of a removed "man track." However, it is likely that it was another metatarsal dinosaur track, since the largely infilled, elongate tracks before and after it, show strong indications of a three-toed dinosaur digit pattern.
A little further to the SE is another interesting trail that includes several partial metatarsal footprints, each of which show distinct hallux marks, made by the small digit on the inside of the foot. Hallux marks are seldom recorded, even on deep dinosaur tracks.
The upper shelf along this bank is covered by thousands of barbell-shaped holes. When cross-sectioned, they are revealed to be U-shaped burrows, probably made by shrimp-like crustaceans. They are associated with the ichnospecies or "trace fossil" name Diplocraterion. Other exposures of this bed, which continue for several hundred yards on both sides of the river, contain many thousands more of these burrows.
For more information on the Taylor Site see:
For more information on other Paluxy tracks and the "man track" controversy see: The Paluxy "man track" controversy