Geoscience Adventures

     Flitner Ranch Dinosaur Tracksite




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Cliff Manuel

1802 US Highway 14 E

Shell, WY 82441

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The Flitner Ranch Dinosaur Tracksite (FRDT) is located on private land, near the Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite, and is part of one of the most continually extensive dinosaur tracksites in North America. 


The owners of this property are active supporters of the GeoScience Adventures scientific team and allow our geoscientists to conduct controlled excavations and research of the site. Their generous support of the scientific research of the Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite and the Flitner Ranch Dinosaur Tracksite areas contributed directly to the comprehensive study of these areas.

The tracks were formed 167 million years ago during the middle of the Jurassic Period when dinosaurs reigned supreme.  Access to this private site is managed by Bighorn Basin Geoscience Center.



Kim&Joel4Discovery of these dinosaur tracks on private property was significant since our scientific team could perform controlled excavations (prohibited at the Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite), uncovering dinosaur tracks which had not been impacted by years of weathering from exposure to the elements.  Thus far, 21 trackways and 15 additional isolated footprints of three-toed dinosaurs have been identified in the Flitner Ranch Dinosaur Tracksite area.  The footprints are preserved as impressions into the rock. Interestingly these animals seem to have walked on their toes as heel impressions are lacking. 


track-FR2The middle toe of most of the dinosaur prints is slightly sinuous.  This and other print characteristics -- the length of the footprint being greater than the width and rare claw marks that appear at the ends of long, tapering, slender toes -- identify these tracks as probable theropod (meat-eating) dinosaurs.


Most of the footprints associated with trackways fall in a single line under the midline of the body and reflect a two-legged animal that walked very erect with one foot placed in front of the other.  Many of the trackways are oriented to the southwest.  The near parallel pathways suggest that several of the FRDT dinosaurs may have congregated and moved in small groups. 


salt_castOther features that are present on the FRDT surface include cubic salt crystal casts and ripples.  The salt crystal casts indicate areas where salt crystals formed from evaporation. These were subsequently dissolved; however, the cubic form remains.  The salt crystal casts indicate that the ancient climate was very arid, at least seasonally, when the dinosaurs lived here. The climate may have been similar to that found today in the Persian Gulf.  The ripples and the limestone composition of the rock, which preserved the tracks, indicates that the area was a beach or tidal flat and part of the coastline of a vast inland sea; the Sundance Sea that covered a major portion of western Wyoming 167 million years ago.






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    Last Updated:  January 1, 2017


Geoscience Adventures  ~  1802 US Highway 14 E  ~   Shell, Wyoming 82441

Web site maintenance by: Cliff Manuel









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