Outdoor Lab

Las Cruces – In the Robledo Mountains of southern New Mexico, an international team of scientists spent the past week searching for clues to help them better understand what life was like along a prehistoric shoreline.

The mudstone at Prehistoric Trackways National Monument near Las Cruces has offered up tracks of reptiles and jumping insects that predate the dinosaur age by tens of millions of years.

The monument contains some of the most scientifically significant early Permian trackways in the world.

It's one of dozens of units within the National Landscape Conservation System that scientists are using as a vast outdoor laboratory.

The National Landscape Conservation System, or NLCS, is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.