The Dinosaur that Didn't Get Away

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August 10th 2014
Published: August 20th 2014
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Part of the Dinosaur Stampede at Lark QuarryPart of the Dinosaur Stampede at Lark QuarryPart of the Dinosaur Stampede at Lark Quarry

You can see the different sizes of dinosaurs from the footprints and the way they all ran in different directions to get away from the raptor. This happened 95 million years ago!
Today was the visit to the Dinosaur Stampede at Lark Quarry, about 110km away from Winton, with about half of it on dirt road. Nancy came with us as she also wanted to see it. The road was very rough in places and there were lots of humps and bumps, especially where the road had flood markers, which was often.

We arrived in time to look around at the displays before our guide came. He took us into the Stampede, where we stood on a long boardwalk overlooking the footprints while he explained what they were. Basically, 95 million years ago, a large theropod called Tyrannosauropus (a raptor) had cornered a group of smaller animals, many the size of chickens (Skartopus Australis), and some plant eaters almost the size of us (Wintonopus Latomorum). They had panicked and scattered in every direction, even bumping into each other in their hurry to get away. The area had been very muddy, and you could see where some of them had slipped. He speculated that one patch was a small Latomorum that had fallen and was probably the one that was eaten, giving the rest chance to escape.

The footprints dried out a
The Rustic Dining Room at Tattersall's HotelThe Rustic Dining Room at Tattersall's HotelThe Rustic Dining Room at Tattersall's Hotel

The walls are clad in corrugated iron and there are farming and farmhouse kitchen items all over the room. Also note the napkin holders - they are real seed pods that have split open and are round and very hard.
bit but were soon covered by silt, which preserved them.

Grazier Glen Seymour found them on his property and thought they were fossilised bird footprints. When he showed them to a local expert he was amazed to hear that they were dinosaur prints. Then in 1967 a team of palaeontologists from Queensland University came out and spent 18 months uncovering more footprints, 3,300 in all. They took latex moulds of them all to preserve an accurate record. It’s just as well as wind and rain has deteriorated some areas quite badly. They finally decided to build a shelter over them to stop the erosion. There are still more footprints under the sediment but they have all they need to tell the story and they are safer staying where they are, preserved for the future.

Our guide was rather muffled at times, because his microphone was set wrongly. After he’d finished Barry mentioned it and we suggested he turned the Treble up a bit. Hopefully the next tour will find it easier to hear!

We found a picnic table overlooking the Quarry area and had some lunch where we were visited by a Hooded Robin. After
Steers Have the Right of WaySteers Have the Right of WaySteers Have the Right of Way

Long areas of the roads in this area are unfenced (even major highways with long road trains roaring along at 100kph down them) so you always have to keep a watch for any wandering onto the road, as these two did. They would make a real mess of your car if you hit them (not to mention the cow!)
that, we went on the Jump-Up Loop, a 0.7km walk past some of the gullies and up to the top of the escarpment, where we had a wonderful view across the plain. There were interesting markers along the way which explained some of the features and plants.

By the time we got back to the ute we were all ready for a drink and then we headed back along the very bumpy road, with Barry slowing down a bit more when it got really bad, this time!

Nancy and I went to look at the Opal Shop next to our caravan park and I bought a couple of small boulder opals. We then had a quick look up the street and went into Tattersalls Hotel for a Lemon, Lime and Bitters.

Nancy was ready for a rest then, so we went back to the vans. I told Barry that the hotel had a Roast Lamb dinner that night on special, so we went back and had some. The dining room in the pub was very rustic, with corrugated iron all over the walls and old kitchen and farming artefacts decorating the corners and the open fireplace. The
A Dinosaur BinA Dinosaur BinA Dinosaur Bin

Winton has really embraced the dinosaur theme. These were all along the main road in the centre of town. The green bin sits in the dinosaur foot.
meal was good, too!

As we walked back we could see a full moon shining along the main street, looking as if it was a decoration deliberately placed there.

Back at the van, I did some clothes washing and hung it around inside, and had a really lovely strong hot shower, the best since we started this trip, despite the sulphury smell of the water (because it is from an Artesian Bore), and my skin afterwards. Well worth it!

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