Dinosaur Trackways

In 1992, 100 tracks made by six or seven reptiles nearly 100 million years ago were discovered in an old limestone quarry along Stratford Drive in Zilker Botanical Garden. The tracks cannot be used to specifically identify which kind of dinosaur made them, but it is likely that they were made by ornithomimids ("bird like" from the Greek), a type of  theropod dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous Period.  Some of the tracks may have belonged to a 4-8 foot carnivore (Coelophysis-like) and a sauropod (maybe a Brachiosaurus).

It took some time to determine how best to preserve the dinosaur tracks after they were uncovered.  On display for several years, it became obvious that the tracks were quickly eroding and could not be preserved for public viewing.  After much discussion with experts, and production of molds and diagrams, the Austin Area Garden Council decided  to protect them by burying them under a facility built to recognize their presence. The Hartman Prehistoric Garden was created at the site of the tracks. Reproductions of these tracks have been installed in the garden for public enjoyment.

While uncovering the dinosaur tracks, bones of a marine turtle, genus Osteopygis, were uncovered in March 1992, providing more insight into the life of central Texas during the Cretaceous Period. Plans are currently underway to represent this creature in the garden with a six foot bronze sculpture, however additional fundraising will be required.




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