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Paleontologists doubt 'dinosaur dance floor'
Date:11/7/2008

SALT LAKE CITY A group of paleontologists visited the northern Arizona wilderness site nicknamed a "dinosaur dance floor" and concluded there were no dinosaur tracks there, only a dense collection of unusual potholes eroded in the sandstone.

So the scientist who leads the University of Utah's geology department says she will team up with the skeptics for a follow-up study.

"Science is an evolving process where we seek the truth," says Marjorie Chan, professor and chair of geology and geophysics, and co-author of a recent study that concluded the pockmarked, three-quarter-acre site in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument was a 190-million-year-old dinosaur "trample surface".

"We went through the proper scientific process of careful study, comparisons with other published works and peer review" of the study by independent scientists, Chan adds. "We gave the project considerable critical thought and came up with a different interpretation than the paleontologists, but we are open to dialogue and look forward to collaborating to resolve the controversy."

On Oct. 30 more than a week after the Utah study was publicized worldwide four scientists hiked to the remote wilderness-area site: paleontologist Brent Breithaupt, director and curator of the University of Wyoming's Geological Museum; U.S. Bureau of Land Management paleontologist Alan Titus and geologist Rody Cox; and paleontologist Andrew Milner of the St. George (Utah) Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm.

They saw dinosaur tracks en route, but none in the pockmarked "dance floor."

"There simply are no tracks or real track-like features at this site," Breithaupt says. "We will be investigating the formation of these features in the upcoming study. Science works best when scientists work together."

Chan and Winston Seiler, who conducted the research as part of his master's thesis, say they are not retracting their study, which was publishe
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Contact: Lee Siegel
leesiegel@ucomm.utah.edu
801-581-8993
University of Utah
Source:Eurekalert

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