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Dinosaur Footprints Excavated From NASA’s Backyard

The coolest thing we’ve ever found behind the house was a cigar box with our dad’s stash in it, so this NASA find is pretty exciting.

Dinosaur footprints dating back almost 100 million years were recently excavated from a site on the grounds of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. According to scientists, the fossilized dino prints were most likely cast by three different plant-eating gargantuan; one in particular is thought to belong to the armored tank-like dinosaur known as an Ankylosaurus, which is said to have fought off its carnivorous enemies by beating them off with the club at the end of their tail.

The stocky Ankylosaurus roamed the Earth during the most primitive Jurassic and Cretaceous periods and eventually evolved to have such an impressive layer of body armor (even their eyelids are made of bone)  that it became virtually impossible for the vicious Tyrannosaurus to devour the breed into any level of extinction. In fact, the only thing that was powerful enough to take down this mighty herbivore was the Cretaceous-Paleogene Extinction Event – an event that strongly suggests dinosaurs were wiped off the planet by the impact of asteroids.

The footprints found in NASA’s backyard indicate that this particular Ankylosaurus was running at top speed when it made the imprint, which is evident due to the shallow depth of the print itself. The other two prints are believed to be that of a large vegetarian dinosaur known as an ornithopod, and a smaller Ankylosaurus, perhaps a youngling following closely behind its mother.

Scientists say the prints have been removed from the grounds at NASA and will now be stored until they are able to conduct further investigations. Incidentally, Goddard’s chief scientist says that these fossils are relatively the same age as the starlight from the Virgo Supercluster, which has been a subject of interest at NASA for some time. “That starlight is only now reaching Earth after having traveled through deep space for 100 million years,” he said.

Next: Science is Getting Closer to Mapping Alien Worlds

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