Chris Laskowich spotted the footprint in Clifton — 15 miles west of New York’s Empire State Building — at an old stone quarry that’s being cleared to build an 800-unit housing development. It’s a popular place for fossil hunters to browse through piles of old stones once buried deep underground.
Gary Vecchiarelli, a research assistant at the New Jersey State Museum, holds a pocket knife at the heel of a three-toed dinosaur’s track found in New Jersey.
“I saw it in a boulder pile, it was upside down,” Laskowich told The Record newspaper of Hackensack, N.J. “When the area was blasted, it could have gotten destroyed. The Caterpillar bulldozers might have rolled over the top of these boulders, making this rock useless [scientifically].”
The footprint is believed to be that of an early Jurassic Dilophosaurus. The print is about a foot long, embedded in a slab of stone about the size of a small car. The stone is a hardened mix of lava, sandstone and metamorphic rocks, and holds clues to the types of minerals and plant life present when dinosaurs roamed New Jersey — now one of the nation’s most densely populated states.