Dinosaur National Monument in Utah is one of the most well known safe havens for dinosaur fossils and bones. It’s not a museum and the fossils don’t really have much scientific value. The purposes of the fossils are almost strictly educational.
A young paleontologist working at the monument, Ben Otoo, explained how important the monument was to his profession, “Dinosaur National Monument is pretty much in every book, textbook, or documentary I’ve ever read or seen.”
Ben and his partner, Nicole Ridgwell, were responsible for documenting all the bones in the monument over the summer. Each bone and fossil required in depth photographs.
The National Park Service went on to describe the monument in a news release.
The trail is unique as it is one of the few places where visitors can hike to see and touch unexcavated dinosaur fossils and fragments in situ; or still in place. It allows visitors to experience what it may have been like for paleontologist Earl Douglass when he discovered the first fossils in what is now the monument. While the fossils have limited scientific value, they have a great value for the educational experience they provide to visitors and students who hike the trail.
Visitors are able to walk the 1.2-mile Fossil Discovery Trail that connects the Quarry Visitor Center and the Quarry Exhibit Hall. Along their walk, they are able to see many unexcavated dinosaur bones. When they reach the exhibit hall, they are greeted by a wall of 1,500 dinosaur bones.
Each bone in the Dinosaur National Monument is ancient, protected and priceless.
On Tuesday, the National Park Service reported that one of their rangers noticed a fossilized sauropod dinosaur’s humerus bone was damaged. Part of the bone on the lower part had been removed. The ranger noted that the damage was not evident during the tour on the previous day.
Authorities are looking into who might have vandalized the bone. It’s possible that there will be steep fines or worse for the person, or people, involved because all the fossils in Dinosaur National Monument are protected and it is against the law to collect them.
There is a reward being offered to anyone who can contact the monument with information leading them to the responsible party. The $750 reward will only be eligible for collection if the information leads authorities to a conviction in the case.
If you have any knowledge of the incident, please contact Dinosaur National Monument at (435) 781-7715.
[ Image courtesy of National Parks Traveler ]