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Dinosaur National Monument

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Green River overlook

Dinosaur National Monument is located in northwest Colorado, straddling the Utah border. It is situated where four physiographic provinces meet and overlap (Wyoming Basin, Rocky Mountains, Colorado Plateau, and the Great Basin). Erosion has carved deep canyons and side-draws with elevation varying from (4,900 to 9,000 feet). Highly diversified populations of plants and animals are found through the area due to these overlapping biomes, landscape variations, and the abundance of water brought from the Yampa and Green River.

Dinosaur National Monument protects a large deposit of fossils that belong to at least eleven different kinds of dinosaurs including Apatosaurus, Diplodocus, Stegasaurus, Allosaurus, and Ceratosaurus. More than half of all the different kinds of dinosaurs that lived in North America are found in the Dinosaur National Monument.

The fossils were discovered in 1909 by Earl Douglass, who was a paleontologist for the Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He spent many years digging-up thousands of fossils and shipping them back to Pittsburgh, where many skeletons are now on display. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the site as Dinosaur National Monument in 1915 [1].

Paleontologists working in Quarry Visitor Center

The rock layers (strata) containing the fossils are sandstones and conglomerates of alluvial origin known as the Morrison Formation [2]. The dinosaurs and other ancient animals were washed into the area and buried during the global flood of Noah.

A highly concentrated fossiliferous layer forms one wall of the Quarry Visitor Center. On this wall, paleontologists have carefully chiped away the rock to uncover the bones while leaving them in place, so viewers can see them in their natural placement. More than 1500 fossil bones can now be seen in this one extraordinary exhibit, from small juvenile dinosaurs to 30-ton adult apatosaurs, plus turtles, crocodiles, and clams.

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Dinosaur National Monument website

National Park Service

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