Nodosaur Footprint Found at Goddard Space Flight Center

August 22, 2012


Photographer: Rebecca Roth, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Summary Author: Jim Foster; Karl B. Hille, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Approximately 110 million years ago, a tank-sized dinosaur known as a Nodosaur was munching leaves on what is now the campus of Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Shown above at top is a single footprint (about 12 in or 30 cm across) from this behemoth’s back left foot discovered by local dinosaur tracker extraordinaire, Ray Stanford. Nodosaurs roamed over Maryland in the middle of the Cretaceous Period, occasionally leaving behind imprints in mud of their four-toed feet. These quadrupedal herbivores were well armed with knobby protrusions to help ward off the toothy meat eaters that had a taste for the soft flesh beneath their spiky nodes. It's quite an odd juxtaposition: while NASA astronomers at Goddard look skyward toward star systems millions of light years away, at their feet are footprints of creatures that lumbered across the lowlands millions of years ago. Photo taken on August 17, 2012.