Rock Fall At Grand Canyon Reveals Ancient Animal Footprints

Aug 25, 2020

A rock tumble at the Grand Canyon revealed fossil footprints that researchers say are among the oldest in the park.

This undated photo provided by Grand Canyon National Park shows park employees Klara Widrig, left, and Anne Miller examining a rock that revealed fossilized footprints at the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona. Some researchers have estimated the footprints are 313 million years old, among the earliest found at the Grand Canyon.
Credit Grand Canyon National Park via AP

Steve Rowland is a geology professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and recently published his findings. He says the creature that made the tracks is something like a modern-day chuckwalla that sidestepped sand dunes in a coastal plain more than 300 million years ago. Not everyone is convinced the footprints were created by a single, four-legged animal, moving laterally. Or, that the footprints are those of animals that lay hard-shell eggs. But officials at the Grand Canyon say the research raises interesting questions.