Saturday, January 3, 2009

Dinosaurs

Nearly every little boy has a thing for dinosaurs. They are big, loud, and awesome creatures, now safely dead. Most little boys eventually grow out of it, and go on to sports, or some other pursuit. I never did, and dinosaurs are still a passion of mine.

Fortunately for me, I live in Western Colorado, one of the centers of dinosaur fossils. The first specimens of Bracheosaurus altothorax were found just outside of Grand Junction. Other dinosaur fossils, such as Apatosaurus, Stegosaurus, and Allosaurus have been found just outside of town. The nearby town of Fruita has a dinosaur museum, and Tonjia got me a year's pass to the museum. In October, 2007, I dragged Tonjia off to Jensen Utah to see Dinosaur National Monument. The trip took about 2 1/2 hours, on a clear fall day. It was beautiful weather that day.

While the park was open, unfortunately, the dinosaur quarry building, that covers a slab of rock with hundreds of dinosaur fossils still encased in the rock, was closed due to structural issues. It's unknown when the building will re-open, but we still got to view the park, and see some dinosaur bones. This is what greets you as you approach the Park entrance:


Inside the temporary visitor's center, some fossils were on display. This is the skull of an Allosaurus
We hiked back a trail, about a half a mile, to a rock outcropping where some dinosaur bones were still embedded in the rock face. The trail wound around some rough terrain, but we were able to see the remains of a juvenile Apatosaurus. Here's a forearm bone sticking out of the rock:


In this picture, you can see a row of vertebrae along the rock face, just below the overhanging rock :



After viewing the dinosaur fossils we took a drive around to see some Indian petroglyphs in the park.


There's still a lot of dinosaur related areas I'd like to visit, and maybe next summer I can go on a real dinosaur dig at Rabbit Valley, where there's an active quarry. The geology of this area continues to fascinate me.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE those petroglyphs!! We need to go find some more..

    ReplyDelete