Dr. Martin Lockley from the Dinosaur Tracks Museum at the University of Colorado at Denver sent me a link to an auction site where some theropod dinosaur footprints are for sale next month. His message simply says, "St. George Theropod tracks for sale!!!!"
Here's the link:
There is very little doubt in my mind that this particular specimen was stolen from across the street from the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm museum (SGDS) from one of four track surfaces we call the Stewart-Walker Tracksites. To top it off, this specimen looks very familiar to us. Good thing we have detailed descriptions and photographic records of all specimens found exposed on private and City of St. George properties around the museum, so it shouldn't take us too long to figure out if the specimen in question was stolen. If it was then we can do something about it. By the way, we have had a few thefts and vandalisms in the last couple of years.
Don't know if everyone knows this, but they should. If fossils were collected from private land without the landowners permission then it is theft and trespassing. All of the properties around the SGDS museum are private properties or belong the City of St. George. The SGDS are the only ones with permission to collect from these surrounding properties. You should also know that collecting or replicating vertebrate traces fossils (vertebrate body fossils as well) is illegal on federal and state lands if you don't hold a permit.
Sorry for posting this, but it really upsets me when scientifically significant fossils like the one for auction go missing, and when most likely it is from the site we have all worked so hard to protect! Why protect it? Simply for research and public education purposes, and to preserve it for future generation to observe, enjoy, and study. The SGDS is one of a kind and cannot be duplicated! By the way, one of the track types on this block is extremely rare and we are presently describing them in detail.
Please feel free to pass this along to others and/or post it on groups, listservers, etc.
Andrew R. C. Milner
St. George City Paleontologist and SGDS Curator