“We had mom, dad, big brother, big sister and little babies all running around together,” said paleontologist Anthony Fiorillo, who is studying the dinosaur tracks. “As I like to tell the park, Denali was a family destination for millions of years, and now we’ve got the fossil evidence for it.”
The discovery adds to Fiorillo’s growing conviction that dinosaurs lived at polar latitudes year-round during the Late Cretaceous Period, about 70 million years ago.
“Even back then the high latitudes were biologically productive and could support big herds of pretty big animals,” said Fiorillo, curator of earth sciences at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas.
The dinosaur track site, near Cabin Peak in the park’s northeast corner, has thousands of tracks from hadrosaurs, or duck-billed dinosaurs. Many of the deep tracks contain preserved skin and “nail” impressions from the plant-eating hadrosaurs.
“This is definitely one of the great track sites of the world. We were so happy to find it,” Fiorillo said.