LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Inside Alaska's Denali National Park and Preserve, there are some off-the-path spots that seem far to the north of nowhere.

That's where the trek begins for a team of avid dinosaur hunters, including Tony Fiorillo, the curator of earth sciences at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

'The passion and the interest, it's like we never grew up,' Fiorillo said of the group.

In Denali, he said, 'It sounds goofy, but this magic happens when we are out here.'

For hours they hike, going up in elevation to go back in time, exploring rocks that are rich in prehistoric finds.

This annual expedition led by the Perot Museum has unlocked a secret held for millions of years by this frigid and foreboding landscape -- that Alaska, of all places, was a hotbed for dinosaurs.

'It's been thought that they moved through Asia and North America or vice versa, and they came through Alaska,' Fiorillo said.

He has been passing through Alaska a lot, too. Fiorillo said it all started several years ago, when they found one dinosaur print here, followed by many more.

'There's thousands and thousands of these things,' he said. 'They've called this part of Alaska the richest record of polar dinosaurs anywhere in the world.'

In fact, there are so many prehistoric prints here that the researchers think they may have stumbled on a millions-of-years-old mystery that could change a lot about what we thought we knew about dinosaurs; that they didn't just pass through the Arctic environment on their way to warmer, more tropical climes -- they actually chose to stay and live in Denali.

We'll have more from Fiorillo from Denali this Sunday on News 8 at 10!

E-mail jwheeler@wfaa.com

Read or Share this story: http://www.wfaa.com/story/news/local/dallas-county/2014/08/25/14310360/