Pushing off from the banks of the Tanana River this summer, Pat Druckenmiller knew the challenges his team of scientists would encounter trying to find dinosaur footprints along the banks of the Yukon River. A long trip with lots of rock hounding awaited, he figured. And for what? Maybe a few footprints here and there.
What the Alaska paleontologist didn't expect was finding, literally, a ton of dinosaur fossils.
His team of 14 people spent two weeks traveling 500 miles of the Yukon River this summer, and in the process uncovered thousands of dinosaur footprints along the river's edge.
For Druckenmiller, earth sciences curator for the University of Alaska Museum of the North, the magnitude of the find went far beyond his expectations. On one beach the team collected 50 fossils in 10 minutes.
“It's a little overwhelming,” he joked in a phone interview Wednesday.