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Gallery: Dino Footprints in the Space Age

Track of a Nodosaur

NASA Goddard dinosaur tracks.

(Image credit: NASA/GSFC/Rebecca Roth)

Dinosaur hunter Ray Stanford points out the track of a Cretaceous dinosaur to NASA Goddard officials and local media.

Dinosaur Track

NASA Goddard dinosaur tracks.

(Image credit: NASA/GSFC/Rebecca Roth)

The footprint found on NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center is about 110 million years old.

Brushing Off History

NASA Goddard dinosaur tracks.

(Image credit: NASA/GSFC/Rebecca Roth)

Dinosaur hunter Ray Stanford cleans the nodosaur track. The location of the print is being kept secret to protect it.

Hand and Foot

NASA Goddard dinosaur tracks.

(Image credit: NASA/GSFC/Rebecca Roth)

The footprint is about 12 inches (30 cm) across and was likely made by an animal moving quickly.

Stanford Examines a Fossil

NASA Goddard dinosaur tracks.

(Image credit: NASA/GSFC/Rebecca Roth)

Ray Stanford found several prints likely belong to theropod dinosaurs in the same location.

Nodosaur Model

NASA Goddard dinosaur tracks.

(Image credit: NASA/GSFC/Rebecca Roth)

A model nodosaur sits in the real nodosaur footprint.

Annotated Footprint

NASA Goddard dinosaur tracks.

(Image credit: NASA/GSFC/Rebecca Roth)

The 12-inch-wide footprint belonged to an armored, tank-like plant-eater.

Baby footprint

(Image credit: NASA/GSFC/Rebecca Roth)

A closer look at the site revealed two more prints. One was possibly left by an ornithopod, a vegetarian dinosaur with bird-like, three-toed feet that walked on its hind legs. Another smaller footprint, shown here, was found superimposed over the nodosaur track and is thought to be from a baby nodosaur, perhaps trying to catch up to its parent.

Excavating the tracks

(Image credit: Stephen Godfrey)

The entire find measured about seven feet long and three feet across at its widest point. The site was excavated so that researchers could lift the footprint-marked slab from the ground for preservation and study.

Dino prints jacketed in plaster

(Image credit: NASA/GSFC/Rebecca Roth)

The dinosaur footprints were encased in a field jacket, which is much like a cast that a doctor would place on a broken arm or leg. This field jacket consisted of many layers of burlap soaked in plaster, with metal pipes added to act like splints for additional support.

Footprints get a lift

(Image credit: NASA/GSFC/Rebecca Roth)

The combined weight of the slab, field jacket material and surrounding soil was about 3,000 pounds, so extra care was taken in moving it to avoid damaging the find.