You’ve seen Jurassic Park, right? The reason that stampede scene is even in there is because of the Dinosaur Stampede National Monument. Stephen Spielberg studied the National Heritage site in Australia in order to make his movie stampede as realistic as possible.
Photo via CreativeCOW
I mean if Spielberg thought it was cool, you should probably check it out too, right? The monument is inside the Lark Quarry Conservation Park of Queensland, Australia. This is the only evidence of a dinosaur stampede that we have. There are almost 4,000 95 million year old footprints in a 250 square metres area of rock. The dinosaurs that made these tracks are thought to be a group of about 200 or so and consisting of two types, the Skartopus which was approximately the size of a chicken and the Wintonopus which might be closer to an emu. The size is possibly why when the tracks were first discovered by a local man in the ’60′s they were thought to be from birds, the dinosaur theories didn’t start until some scientists came to check out the scene in 1971. Both of these dinosaurs are thought to have been carnivores, however the cause of the stampede is likely an attempted escape of a single larger carnivore, Tyrannosauropus. Is this starting to sound familiar yet? Who caused that stampede in Jurassic Park? A great big carnivorous jerk named Tyrannosaurous-jerk, that’s who.
Photo via Department of the Environment
The tracks are protected from the elements and from people and other animals inside a building in the conservation park, so the only way to visit them is to pay for a guided tour. However, it’s probably better that you be with a tour guide anyway. How much do you really know about dinosaurs? That’s what I thought. It’s exciting to think that what you saw in Jurassic Park is extremely relevant (you know, minus the terrified children and scientist running for the hills) to the actual real fossils that you’ll see at the monument, but of course there is still so much you can learn from the tour guides and caretakers of the site to understand what happened and why we can still see the evidence today.
What’s your favorite dinosaur?