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100 million year old dinosaur tracks damaged to build boardwalk in Utah

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They didn’t have backhoes in the Cretaceous period.

Dinosaur tracks dating back to 112 million years ago in Utah were damaged in January by construction machinery building a boardwalk at a tourist attraction.

The Mill Canyon Dinosaur Tracksite’s dinosaur footprints have been attracting visitors since their discovery in 2009. But people noticed in January that some of the tracks had been damaged and there was heavy construction equipment at the site.

The Bureau of Land Management, which operates the site, claimed at the time that no equipment was in the protected area near the dinosaur tracks. However, they had to go back on this claim and open an investigation.

On Wednesday, the BLM shared the report of that investigation, which confirmed that construction machinery had caused irreversible damage to some of the tracks.

The new metal boardwalk was commissioned because the current wooden boardwalk is in poor condition, having been warped by the eastern Utah desert sun.

For several years, the local BLM office had a paleontologist on staff. But in 2018, this paleontologist left for another job and was not replaced. No paleontologists were consulted before the construction project, according to the report.

Despite the problems, construction of the new boardwalk is expected to resume later this year. However, the BLM said they would create a new plan and actually talk to a paleontologist or two this time.

In addition to being a popular tourist site, the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Tracksite is an important prehistoric site. It is one of the top 10 dinosaur tracking sites in the United States

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