According to U.S. authorities, heavy equipment used to construct a boardwalk at a famous tourist attraction in southern Utah has damaged dinosaur footprints that date back 112 million years, causing the tracks to be disturbed.
A recent assessment from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management said that although the overall damage at the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Tracksite was moderate, several footprints had fractured rims around the edges, the NyTimes reports.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the agency also said that a spot where an ancient crocodile traversed a mud flat seemed to have been driven over many times by a backhoe, producing fracturing.
A new evaluation should be conducted, the area properly designated, and work workers should be trained on where they are and are not permitted to go, according to the agency in the report.
A regional paleontologist position has been empty since 2018, according to the report, and the agency should replace the role. The site is regarded to be one of the most significant dinosaur track locations in the country, since it contains traces from at least ten distinct species of dinosaur.
“To ensure this does not happen again, we will follow the recommendations in the assessment, seek public input, and work with the paleontology community as we collectively move forward on constructing boardwalks at the interpretive site,” the agency said.
“It’s good that we stopped more damage from happening,” said Jeremy Roberts of the Bureau of Land Management. “But this will continue to plague the state until we get a paleontologist.”
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