Why the longest dinosaur trail sold for over $100,000

In 1945, an American family bought a plot of land in Colorado's Ouray County to search for gold. People found gold in Colorado in the mid-18th century, so the buyers clearly knew what they were doing. But at the time of the purchase, and decades later, they did not even suspect that under their lands lay something more valuable than gold. In 2021, scientists decided to study this place and discovered a well-preserved and longest path that was made by giant dinosaurs. This unique place has become of great value for science, and recently any mining work was banned there. The owners were not offended because their land was purchased for decent money.

Why the longest dinosaur trail sold for more than 100 thousand dollars. Sauropods are one of the largest creatures in the history of the Earth. Image source: freepik.com. Photo.


  • 1 Fossilized traces of a real dinosaur
  • 2 The largest dinosaurs on Earth
  • 3 How dinosaurs moved
  • 4 Place on Earth with dinosaur footprints

Fossilized footprints of a real dinosaur

The longest path, trodden by multi-meter dinosaurs, consists of 134 consecutive tracks. It is called West Gold Hill and its length is 97 meters. According to paleontologists, the fossilized traces were left 150 million years ago by one of the largest animals in the world – sauropods.

Fossil footprints of a real dinosaur. A path made by a huge dinosaur. Photo source: USDA Forest Service. Photo.

The trail made by a huge dinosaur. Photo source: USDA Forest Service

Read also:The most amazing dinosaurs that lived in Russia millions of years ago

The largest dinosaurs on Earth

Sauropods, also known as sauropods, are a large group of plant-eating dinosaurs that lived 210–66 million years ago. They were found on all continents except Antarctica, so the discovery of their traces in the state of Colorado is not surprising.

The body length of sauropods from head to tail could reach 40 meters. The largest individuals were 17 meters tall, and these creatures weighed 70 tons or even more. In the modern world, only some species of whales can be heavier than sauropods. For example, a blue whale can weigh up to 150 tons.

The largest dinosaurs on Earth. The body weight of sauropods could reach 70 tons. Image source: dinozavriki.com. Photo.

The body weight of sauropods could reach 70 tons. Image source: dinozavriki.com

The most important feature of sauropods was their long neck. There is even a separate article about this on our website – the dinosaur of the species Mamenchisaurus sinocanadorum had a 15-meter neck. With the help of a long neck, sauropods easily reached the highest branches of trees, which were inaccessible to other herbivores.

Sauropods also had thick legs, approximately the same in shape as those of modern elephants. They walked on four legs, because this was the only way they could support their huge and heavy bodies. In 2020, scientists found that sometimes sauropods still walked on two legs, but only under certain conditions.

Interesting fact:Huge dinosaurs appeared on Earth after it didn't stop raining for 2 million years

How dinosaurs moved

Thanks to their massive bodies, sauropods left deep tracks behind them round shape. However, only a few of them turned into fossils and were able to survive to this day. Most often, well-preserved dinosaur tracks are found at the bottom of dry rivers and lakes, because tracks remain best on muddy shorelines.

How dinosaurs moved. Fossilized footprint of a dinosaur. Photo source: dolidoki.com. Photo.

Fossilized dinosaur footprint. Photo source: dolidoki.com

But the traces discovered in the US state of Colorado are unique. They were able to survive well to this day in rugged mountainous terrain, at an altitude of 2835 meters. Moreover, we are talking about hundreds of successive steps, from which one can understand how the huge dinosaur moved. Judging by the change in the rotation of the legs, at a certain moment the sauropod turned sharply 270 degrees. What exactly made him change his mind about going forward, no one knows, and this secret is unlikely to ever be revealed.

How dinosaurs moved. Fossilized tears of a sauropod. Photo source: denverpost.com. Photo.

Fossil tears of a sauropod. Photo source: denverpost.com

You will be surprised:What was the life expectancy of dinosaurs

A Place on Earth with Dinosaur Tracks

Recently it became known that the US Forest Service has acquired land with dinosaur tracks to protect them from destruction. For 27 acres of land, which is the size of about 20 football fields. The previous owners, who still wanted to look for gold in this place, received plenty of money – the transaction cost was $ 135,000.

A place on Earth with dinosaur footprints. Perhaps the owners of the land received more money than they could have gotten from gold mining. Image source: goldenfront.ru. Photo.

It is important to emphasize once again that the dinosaur footprints found in Colorado are not the only ones in the world. They are unique in that there are many of them, and from them you can understand how the sauropod moved.

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Single dinosaur tracks are found all over the world. For example, in 2021 we talked about the discovery of such on the shore of the British city of Folkestone. They were found much earlier, but scientists were not sure that they were dealing with fossilized footprints of ancient creatures. If you are interested in the details of this discovery, read our material “Scientists have found fossilized traces of large dinosaurs.”