It’s something like a modern-day chuckwalla, strolling in sand dunes on an island in what now is the Grand Canyon region.
That’s how Steve Rowland, professor emeritus of geology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and his fellow researchers interpret fossil footprints that were revealed in a rock fall near a popular Grand Canyon hiking trail. They estimate the tracks are 313 million years old, give or take a half-million years.
At that age, they’d be among the oldest tracks of animals that lay eggs with a protective hard or leathery shell and the earliest evidence of vertebrate animals walking distinctively in sand dunes, Rowland, Mario Caputo and Zachary Jensen wrote in a research paper published this month.
“I think our interpretations will hold up very well,” Rowland said Monday.
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