Four scientists are now disputing the recent discovery of rare dinosaur tracks in a remote area near the Utah-Arizona border. According to the original study, which was published in the October issue of the paleontology journal Palaios and widely reported around the world, a large concentration of dinosaur tracks and rare tail-drag marks was found in a dinosaur "trample surface" in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. But Brent Breithaupt of the University of Wyoming Geological Museum, Alan Titus and Rody Cox of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and Andrew Milner of St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm believe the dinosaur tracks are actually just sandstone potholes, created by erosion and weathering.
Millions of years ago, shifting sand dunes covered much of the western U.S. Over time, the sand dunes became the Navajo Sandstone rock, which is visible throughout much of the Colorado Plateau region today. Potholes are circular depressions in the sandstone carved by erosional processes, such as when pebbles or sand swirl in running water. They can look deceivingly like dinosaur footprints, which makes life complicated for scientists.
In their published findings about the discovery, University of Utah professor Marjorie Chan and graduate student Winston Seiler acknowledged that there are strong arguments for the features being potholes and not dinosaur tracks. In fact, the University of Utah press release on October 20, 2008 that announced the findings disclosed that one reviewer of the Palaios paper believed that the holes were erosion features. But because the holes exhibited many footprint features, and because they were concentrated along only one surface, Chan and Seiler argued that the impressions were made by dinosaurs.
Now, the two investigators have agreed to collaborate on a follow-up study with the four scientists who question the findings. "We gave the project considerable critical thought and came up with a different interpretation than the paleontologists," said Chan. "But we are open to dialogue and look forward to collaborating to resolve the controversy."
Debates over research findings and results are not unusual in the science world; in fact, according to the scientific method, results and findings must be reproduced by others in the scientific community to be confirmed. Seiler, whose master's thesis work was based on the dinosaur tracks discovery, fully acknowledges that his interpretation is controversial and that further study is warranted, saying that if the paleontologists' skepticism turns out to be justified, "that's part of science."
How do scientists mistake erosion patterns that must have been seen a million times by now, for dinosaur tracks?! Wishful thinking?
Well, I looked at little worm-like things in the Martian meteriote which was found in Antarctica and thought they must have been living organisms, but scientists disagree. In early telescopes some of the surface shading on Mars looked like canals. When Ed Hubble first realized that we inhabit our own galaxy and that the universe is full of galaxies (all of which seem to be racing away from us) he concluded that WE ARE AT THE EXACT CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE because everything all around was racing away from us as from the point of origin of a huge explosion.
All of this was explained away (the latter point with some difficulty) because information is useless without interpretation, which we may also call opinions.
This article is very interesting. It shows how even scientists can be wrong and how they should always check each others answers before anything should be assumed as the right answer. This article could be very important because if the tracks were really only potholes, then a lot we know about dinosaurs today could be wrong. Also, if they are only potholes but they were broadcasted as footprints, a lot of false information would be spread.