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Spencer Creek Storybook

The Dinosaur Story: An Allosaurus

by Lois Barton on March 20th, 2009 - 18:41:06

A recent vacation in southeast Utah provided me with an experience I will savor for years. Twice in our exploring there we saw and marveled at dinosaur tracks in the rock.

One example was at 9,000 feet altitude in the La Sal mountains. We looked up the Allosaurus dinosaur, said to have made those tracks, on the computer. There it was described as "a 30-foot-long two-legged cross between a crocodile and a mountain lion" and at the top of the food chain; a creature 30 feet long weighing two and a half tons.

An article in a 1993 National Geographic says "This...remarkable animal was the most common and successful predator of the late Jurassic... Thousands of fossilized bones (in a few cases nearly complete skeletons), positively identified on more than one continent, has made Allosaurus the most well understood of all predatory dinosaurs."

My mind boggles trying to picture the events leading to those very visible tracks made, according to the web information, 156-145 million years ago. What was the ground like under those feet so long ago? How did that mud turn to rock without somehow erasing the tracks? If that part of modern Utah was once at the bottom of an inland sea, by what process did it reach a mountain top 9,000 feet above sea level in today’s world?

My daughter and grand-daughter were with me on this vacation. Rachel knelt at the edge of the cliff where the tracks are and looked down into the valley probably 4,000 feet below. Her seven-year-old daughter nervously placed a restraining hand on her mother’s back as they looked down.


I am pleased to have this unusual historical relic in mind as part of a rewarding week spent in an unfamiliar part of my homeland

Copyright 2008 by Lois Barto

Photos to follow--Editor

Writer and historian
Lois Barton

Lois Barton is a 90 year old mother of eight children. She has lived on the same rural acreage just south of Eugene, Oregon for more than 50 years. All their children learned to milk, to keep the woodboxes filled, to do their share of household and garden chores. Her first book, Spencer Butte Pioneers, was published in 1982 when her youngest started to school. Since then she wrote five other books: Daughter of the Soil, now out of print; One Woman's West; A Quaker Promise Kept; and Through My Window, autobiographical sketches, sequel to Daughter Of the Soil. Through the years Lois has been a 4H leader, president of the neighborhood association, a precinct committee woman, election board clerk, editor of the Lane County Historian, and a life-long Quaker. She spent a month in Southeast Asia in 1974 as a member of a church peace mission, after working for ten years as director of the Eugene Chapter of the World Without War Council.


Follow the links of the Voices of Spencer Creek for the most recent articles by Lois Barton, including:



Spencer Creek Storybook: Remembering Mother's Day at the Longhouse, and Not Up, Up and Away

Spencer Creek Storybook: A Rainbow Quilt, and Maple Syrup?

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Inventing a Word for Trauma: Adrien Niyongabo and the Trauma Healing and Reconcilliation Service with Helen Park

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Musings on a Trans-gender Friend

Prisons and Peacemaking: An Interview with Helen Park

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: A Tuba Christmas and The King's Carolers

Three Tales for the Wintertide: Of Dragons and Dreams

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: A Visit to Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Frank and the Rivers

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: My Friend Peg and the Peaceful Good Fight

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: These Stones Are Speaking

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Lucy McIver, Peace Pole Artist

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Telephones, Then and Now

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Remembering Bovine Tuberculosis

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: What Is a Quilt?

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Quakers in the British Virgin Islands

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Manta Rays, and Dandelions, A Poem, also introducing Carolann Krohn

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Those Husky Macadamia Nuts

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Fender's Blue, a Nine Day Wonder

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Frannie and the Arrow

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Bhavia's Cambodia

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: The Saga of the Smoking Chimney

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: The Saga of Big Oak Stables

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: A Fishy Story

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: A Different Peace

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Hal and the Mountain

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: A Rogue River Adventure

Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Obituary for a Country Cat

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: The Cortesia Sanctuary

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: The Tree and Me and Lady Slippers

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Cranberries

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Endurance Riding

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Butterflies and Community Development

and The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: The Last Gift.

See more of Lois Barton's articles in West By Northwest.org online magazine's archives:

Visit the Heron Rookery

Sauerkraut and All That

Charlotte's Overdose - Just who is Charlotte and what did she take?

The Midwife–The midnight call awoke an unusual midwife.

The Mystery of Fox Hollow - Fact and fiction meet in this story of the origins of Faith Rock.

Trees, Tame Trees and Squirrel.

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