Protection asked for fossilized footprints

March 27, 2006

Protection is being sought for a 290-million-year-old New Mexico archeological site where thousands of ancient fossil footprints have been discovered.

The site was discovered near Las Cruces, N.M., 15 years ago by an amateur geologist and now a group called the Paleozoic Trackways Foundation is seeking protection for the site, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported Monday. The group said it fears without protection the site -- called one of the most important fossil beds of the Paleozoic era -- will be lost to mining, looting and weather.

Spencer Lucas, curator of paleontology at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History, said the discovery of the site altered paleontologists' knowledge about the era.

Lucas said before the trackways in the Robledo Mountains were uncovered, researchers overestimated the number of animals that existed at the time because they had only isolated examples of tracks they had incorrectly assumed were from different animals. In addition, he told the Sun-News scientists had also discovered tracks of insects they had not known existed.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: 'Jurassic National Monument' proposal gets local support

Related Stories

Rare nautilus sighted for the first time in three decades

August 25, 2015

In early August, biologist Peter Ward returned from the South Pacific with news that he encountered an old friend, one he hadn't seen in over three decades. The University of Washington professor had seen what he considers ...

Recommended for you

For 2-D boron, it's all about that base

September 2, 2015

Rice University scientists have theoretically determined that the properties of atom-thick sheets of boron depend on where those atoms land.

At Saturn, one of these rings is not like the others

September 2, 2015

When the sun set on Saturn's rings in August 2009, scientists on NASA's Cassini mission were watching closely. It was the equinox—one of two times in the Saturnian year when the sun illuminates the planet's enormous ring ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.