In The Spotlight

Warner Valley Dinosaur Track Site Gets Another Look

Paleontologist Andrew Milner pulled up in his truck to a dirt parking lot fenced in by wooden pillars and started carrying his various shovels and brooms down the rocky path. He’d gotten a volunteer crew together to re-map the Warner Valley Dinosaur Track Site hoping to find new tracks that had been overlooked during the original mapping in 1989 by Wade Miller and his team.

“We soon realized that Miller and crew had missed many footprints on their original map and we discovered many tracks by expanding the site,” says Milner, curator for the City of St. George’s Dinosaur Discovery Site. About 400 tracks are now estimated to be there, including the original 161, and Milner and his team are still in the process of excavating. Most of the new ones are compression tracks which stick up in the surface instead of forming a depression.

Paleontologists generally cannot tell what specific dinosaur left a track, but they can be tied to a general group of them. As of now, two types of tracks have been identified as belonging to the Grallator and Eubrontes groups, tracks ranging from 10-16 inches and about 7 inches respectively.

Milner and his team are also looking at other sites in the area in terms of geology to “gain a better understanding of what past environments existed through time in the Warner Valley area.”

Interpretive panels are being prepared as an education piece for this public land use site and Milner hopes bad weather will not get in their way so they can finish the second half of the job. “The site provides important information about Early Jurassic paleoenvironments and it is an important interpretive locality for the BLM,” sums up Milner.

Volunteers working to re-map dinosaur tracks.Paleontologist Andrew Milner working the grid.

Volunteers working the site.

 Volunteer gently brooming to uncover tracks.