June 6, 2009

Massive Findings At Utah Dinosaur Quarry

A collection of 60 to 70 new bones, one of which resembles a 20-foot-long neck bone, have been discovered this week at one of Utah's most prominent dinosaur quarries, the Associated Press reported. 

The findings at the Hanksville-Burpee Dinosaur Quarry offer promise that other large and significant bone specimens could be uncovered in upcoming years. 

Excavator at the site, Scott Williams, the collections and exhibits manager at the Burpee Museum of Natural History in Rockford, Illinois, is enthusiastic about the enormity of the findings.

"In some places you can't work to remove one bone without finding four or five more," he said.

With the combination of dinosaurs, trees and other species in the proximity, scientists look forward to piecing together what life and climate conditions may have been like more than 145 million years ago.

Scientists believe ancient streams carried and deposited the bones collectively at the site.  Jim Kirkland, Utah's state paleontologist, said that the bones were "stacked up like cordwood," in some spots. 

Williams said that excavation crews have been targeting an area about 200 feet long and 100 feet wide, but exposed bones can be viewed in a stretch of about a quarter-mile. 

It could take a decade to uncover everything at the site, Williams said. "We're just literally scratching the surface."

Beginning Sunday, free guided tours are being conducted at the site and will last through June 20.


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