Western Science Center theropod invasion?

I arrived at work this morning to find what appeared to be several muddy tracks in the museum parking lot. While they weren’t arranged in an organized trackway, they were numerous. 

These look a lot like small theropod dinosaur tracks, complete with claw impressions, such as this one from Dinosaur State Park in Connecticut:

Of course, my first thought was that the museum was under attack from a pack of angry, ravenous theropod dinosaurs, presumably seeking revenge for my disparaging comments about the Jurassic World “Velociraptors”. Upon further reflection and observation, it turned out that there was a more mundane explanation. The museum has several sweetgum trees around the parking lot. These leaves are generally five-pointed (below), but when the leaves fall and dry out in the sun the edges tend to curl up.

We’ve actually had a little rain in Hemet the last few days, and the ground is a bit muddy. The leaves apparently got muddy on one side, then blew into the parking lot overnight. Then, before morning, the leaves blew away, leaving a three-point mud outline (the curled-up lateral portions of the leaves apparently didn’t touch the ground).

As a result, I was able to make it safely to my office, free of any Velociraptor-related unpleasantness.


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