Dinosaurs are found in many parts of the world, but what makes this area in northeastern Utah distinct is that the bones of so many different types of dinosaurs are concentrated in one area. Excavations of the area began in the early 1900’s by Earl Douglass, funded by Andrew Carnegie who was interested in obtaining specimens for the Carnegie Museum. In over 15 years of excavation, beginning in 1909, 10 species of dinosaurs were uncovered and shipped to museums. In 1915 thanks to Carnegie’s efforts, 80 acres around the dig were set aside by President Woodrow Wilson, who declared the area a national monument. At that time Douglass requested that a building be constructed to protect the remaining fossil bones but this was not accomplished until 1958. The quarry face is an exhibit of bones, just as they lay when uncovered. Only about 1/2 of the bones are exposed for observation. The wall is a 12 foot thick layer that lies between other rock strata. It is felt that when various dinosaurs died in a river their bodies were picked clean by scavengers, the bones of the bodies were broken apart, then deposited in areas of the river in piles. If the bones were completely covered with sand they became fossilized. (Information from Dinosaur, The Story Behind the Scenery,” by Allen Hagood & Linda West.)
The Quarry Exhibit
A rare find within the park was this almost complete Allosaurous jimmadseni, a new type of meat eating dinosaur. He lived about 5 million years before the other dinosaurs in the quarry. It was discovered in a ravine in the area in 1990 and took three years to excavate.
The Quarry Wall
The animals that were fossilized here roamed the area 150 million years ago.
The bones in the quarry didn’t signify the end of the dinosaur era, rather they fall more in the middle of the stretch of time when the giant beasts roamed the earth.