Last week I had the pleasure of visiting around Spain with my good friend and colleague Dr. Angelica Torices – after all the time we’ve spent together in Canada, it was high time for me to make the trek across the pond and visit her on her home turf! I was part of a lineup of speakers for Dinosaurios 2.0, a public symposium about new techniques in palaeontological research.
Angelica works at the Universidad de La Rioja, in the extremely fine city of Logroño.
Our walk back from the university campus looked like this. I guess it’s alright, if that’s the sort of thing you’re into.
Before the symposium got underway, Angelica toured me around some of the sights in Spain, including her absolutely wonderful dinosaur footprint localities she’s begun working at in the summer. These sites are about an hour’s drive away from Logroño in the little village of Enciso, and are all Early Cretaceous in age. There are excellent walking paths to see many of the footprints, and some are literally found right next to where you park your car!
There are plenty of theropod tracks, plus ornithopods and even a couple spots with sauropods. Pretty great stuff all around.
There’s also some slightly wonky but nevertheless charming dinosaur statues placed near some of the track localities, which I’m sure are probably incredibly popular with tourists.
Enciso is a small town with a population of only about 150 or so, but it’s an absolutely beautiful spot.
They’re incredibly proud of their dinosaurian heritage, with tons of dinosaur-themed signs all over town – even their town clock has a dinosaur track motif! I joked with Angelica constantly that this was basically the Spanish equivalent of Drumheller, Alberta.
As I write this blog post, Enciso is in the final stages of renovating their dinosaur museum to reopen to the public – Angelica’s been overseeing the new exhibit and laboratory design, and it looks like it’s going to be an absolutely amazing addition to the town and well loved by visitors and researchers alike. Next up, we’ll take a tour around the Museo de Ciencias Naturales in Madrid!
And if you’d like to check out a summary of Dinosaurios 2.0, my new friend Pako has a great recap at his El Pakozoico Youtube channel! (En Español, of course!)