Goddard Dinosaur Tracks


2/3/18 – edited to add – here’s an update on the tracks, it’s even more significant than we knew at the time!

As you may recall, they found a nodosaurus track at Goddard a few weeks ago:



The Washington Post article made us all really curious about where it was. Especially because they were kind of mysterious about its location in the article:

Soon after that came out, at lunch we were talking about hunting for it and we read over the article for clues again. It had quite a few, actually: ruddy rock, juts out from a scruffy slope, sticking out of the grass in plain view, might have been chipped by a lawn mower, visible when driving by, yellow stone nearby, and from this spot you could see parking lot, brick buildings, and the rocket at the Visitors Center. We also figured they probably covered it with something. Then Larry pointed at a spot a couple hundred feet away from where we were sitting at the picnic table and said “What’s that?” So we investigated the mystery object, and found a pile of sandbags in a spot that exactly fits the above description! (Also it’s a spot that would have been uncovered relatively recently as residual construction from the new building 34.) Not sure why else they would be there!

We didn’t move the sandbags, of course, because we didn’t want to get in trouble or damage anything. But we did take pictures with the pile of sandbags!


Also, here are a few pics from the Washington Post article that show what the rock (and print) looks like.
Screen shot 2012-08-20 at 12.57.23 PM

With toy dinosaur of the kind that made the print. (Nodosaur)

Then a few more pictures came to light that made us think we had the right spot. One of my friends turned up this image doing a google search for NASA Goddard fossil:

and then we were able to match it to one of the pix I took – that split tree with the sap stain is in the background of both!

and then NASA Goddard posted this one on Flickr:
Cretaceous Footprints Found on Goddard Campus

We had further confirmation when Goddard tweeted that they had a paleontologist at the site taking a look at it. We all ate our lunches super quickly and headed over to check things out.

You could see there was already a crowd:

The paleontologist was digging around the rock to see if it was removable:


Also present was the guy that discovered the dinosaur print!

There it is again:

This random guy wanted to get a photo of his hand in the print. The toes of the dinosaur print are facing the direction of his thumb. (His thumb is in one of the toes.)

Next they cleaned off the print:




Which is when they decided that the small semi-circular depression in the middle of the above picture was another footprint!

His fingers are in it here:

I might have been the first person actually to say the word “baby” – but clearly they were already thinking it was a baby nodosaurus print, maybe running away from a predator with its mother (the bigger print). By his pinky and ring finger, you can see ridges like the mud that was stepped in compressed from the weight and then hardened that way.

We were all very excited to have been there when this happened!



The baby print:

I got video of the guy who discovered it talking about the print: