Dinosaurs Took a Long Jurassic Walk - Colorado College

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For Immediate Release

Jane Turnis
(719) 389-6138


Dinosaurs Took a Long Jurassic Walk 

Colorado College Geologist Henry Fricke publishes research in the journal Nature

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Oct. 26, 2011 – Plant-eating dinosaurs migrated hundreds of miles in search of food and water, says Colorado College Geology Department chair Henry Fricke, whose groundbreaking work on the subject was published online today in the journal Nature.

Fricke, an associate professor, worked with two students, Justin Hencecroth ’09, and Marie E. Hoerner ’09, who is now a graduate student in geology at the University of Chicago.  Fricke and the students examined fossilized teeth from the camarasaurus,  a 20-ton dinosaur that lived during the late Jurassic Period 145 million years ago. 

They analyzed oxygen isotopes in the teeth and compared them to those of ancient soil samples to figure out where the dinosaurs drank water, and they tracked the beasts from the lowlands in what is now Thermopolis, Wyoming, and Dinosaur National Monument in Utah, to the mountains to the west.
The research gives heft to speculation among scientists that the dinosaurs traveled some distance.  How far the camarasaurus traveled was a surprise; Fricke and the students say it took the beasts six months to travel the 186 miles from lowlands to highlands and back again.

Fricke has been studying dinosaurs since 2004.

Link to Nature story: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature10570.html

About Colorado College
Colorado College is a nationally prominent, four-year liberal arts college that was founded in Colorado Springs in 1874. The college operates on the innovative Block Plan, in which its approximately 2,000 undergraduate students study one course at a time in intensive 3½-week segments. The college also offers a master of arts in teaching degree. For more information, visit www.ColoradoCollege.edu <http://www.ColoradoCollege.edu>.