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In Images: Tyrannosaur Trackways

Steps of terror

tyrannosaur track mark

(Image credit: Richard McCrea)

In 2011, a local hunting guide happened upon a tyrannosaur footprint in the Canadian wilderness.

Excavating tracks

excavating trackmarks

(Image credit: Richard T. McCrea)

When researchers began excavating, they found a long, skinny stretch filled with dinosaur tracks of several types, including several more tyrannosaur tracks.

Molding the feet

making a mold of dinosaur tracks

(Image credit: Richard T. McCrea)

Researchers created moldings of the footprints to study them in more detail.

Pack animals?

tyrannosaur trackway

(Image credit: Richard McCrea)

The three sets of tyrannosaur tracks were parallel to one another and all the same depth, suggesting the fierce predators moved together.

Pack animals?

tyrannosaur footprint

(Image credit: Richard T. McCrea)

The tracks strengthen the theory that tyrannosaurs were pack animals.

Theropod track

theropod footprint

(Image credit: Richard T. McCrea)

Tyrannosaurs weren't the only animals to have left their mark. Smaller theropods also left prints in the area.

Hadrosaur print

hadrosaur footprint

(Image credit: Richard T. McCrea)

The tyrannosaurs narrowly missed their prey, as revealed by a track made by a hadrosaur that came through after the tyrannosaurs.

Hadrosaur skin

hadrosaur skin impression

(Image credit: Richard McCrea)

The hadrosaur also left a skin imprint in one of its tracks.

Recreating the walk

how tyrannosaurs walked

(Image credit: McCrea et al, PLOS 2014)

The footprints allowed researchers to recreate the tyrannosaurs' walk.

Walk on

a rendering of tyrannosaur tracks

(Image credit: Richard T. McCrea)

The tyrannosaur tracks were all created at the same time, suggesting the terrifying trio may have stalked prey together.

Tia Ghose
Tia has interned at Science News, Wired.com, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and has written for the Center for Investigative Reporting, Scientific American, and ScienceNow. She has a master's degree in bioengineering from the University of Washington and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California Santa Cruz.