Image of the Day: A dinosaur almost fell down

Credit: Seth Hammond

Fossils are the bones of things that have been dead for a very, very long time. So, it's kind of hard to get a sense of personality for animals like dinosaurs, because we can't see them moving around and doing stuff. What we canoccasionally see are the footprints that they leave behind in mud. When those footprints get fossilized, it gives us a window into what dinosaurs actually did. A lot of walking around, apparently. And just like us, some of them were klutzy:

The tracks cross the bed of Carrizo Creek, a seasonal stream north of Kenton, Okla. The paleontologist who first described the tracks in the 1980s reported 47 footprints in a row, [graduate student Seth] Hammond told LiveScience, but because of erosion, only 14 are visible today.

Two of the tracks are particularly interesting. One has a ridge of mud pushed out and up along its side. The other one is strangely deep — about 0.6 inches (1.6 centimeters) deeper than any of the other tracks.

"What we finally decided is, what must have happened is that the dinosaur slipped as it was walking across this really slippery mudflat, and then that's where it caught itself," Hammond said of the second, deep track.

"In a way, what's interesting is the everyday trivia," Hammond said. "He's just walking across a mudflat and slips like anyone else might."

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Via LiveScience

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