photo courtesy National Park Service.

   DEATH VALLEY — Authorities ancient animal footprints left millions of years ago in Death Valley National Park (apparently before it was called Death Valley National Park) have been stolen. Now Park Service officials are offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of the thieves.

On March 28, 2017, park officials announced they had recently discovered the theft of the fossil prints.

According to the Park Service:

Trackways of mammals and birds were formed about 3 to 5 million years ago, when the animals left footprints in a muddy lakeshore area. Scientists visit the area regularly, photographing and recording the exact location of each footprint. They discovered the fossils were missing during a recent visit and reported it to park rangers.

Park officials have released photos of hikers and backpackers who were in the area and may have information.

Contact the Investigative Services Branch with any information: 888-653-0009. More photos and additional info here.