ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Diggin' For Dinosaurs - Dinosaur National Monument, Part 2

Updated on March 30, 2010

Except for a cast of the new Allosaurus, still curled in its death pose, the compact exhibits at the public fossil quarry do not reflect the latest finds from these or other new fossil sites within the monument. But there's still much to hold your attention should you avert your gaze from the massive bone bas-relief. Scale models of each of the quarry's dinosaurs, with a relatively sized ranger model for comparison, give a quick gauge of these beasts' dimensions. A beautifully complete, real Allosaurus skull can be seen, along with a jaw fragment from this top-of-the-food-chain carnivore that reveals an erupting sharp tooth about to replace a worn, chipped one. Casts of the limb bones, pelvis, and ribs from the most complete juvenile Stegosaurus ever found, and a few bones from a Camptosaurus embryo, make unusual displays. You can see a growth series of sauropod ankle bones, or compare the thigh bones of Diplodocus and Camarasaurus. Although Camarasaurus had a shorter neck and tail, its denser, bulkier bones made it weigh around 30 tons, more than twice the mass of the larger Diplodocus.

On the quarry face, you can spot a pair of Camarasaurus skeletons. One has an arc of tail vertebrae curled above bones of the neck and an intact skull. The ribs, some limb bones, the pelvis, and a few foot bones are scattered across the wall. The second specimen has an eerily protruding skull and neck suspended above a fully articulated leg. Including these two, only 14 complete dinosaur skulls have been excavated from the quarry, so most of what's left in place are sauropod femurs, other limb bones, ribs, vertebrae, and shoulder blades. Instead of hounding a ranger for a bone-by-bone breakdown, consult the illustrated booklet "What Kind of Bone Is That?" available at the visitor center.

Not to diminish the poignant power of so many fossils in one place, but there's more to Dinosaur than dinosaurs. The fossil wall is literally and figuratively just the tip of the monument. Since roads are few and far between, seeing more of the park requires rafting, backpacking, or a lot of driving. But Dinosaur rewards what time you can give it. At least follow the 10-mile, mostly paved road past Split Mountain (after obtaining a "Tour of the Tilted Rocks" brochure). Prairie dogs pop up from roadside burrows. Fremont petroglyphs depicting lizards, bighorn sheep, and people in ceremonial dress adorn the rocks. In late afternoon, golden light emanates from the Entrada sandstone cliffs.

The four-mile Jones Creek Trail offers a respite from recreational vehicles and a break from the monument's heat, as a steady breeze blows through the canyon formed by towering red Cambrian rocks on one side and pale sandstone on the other. For a shorter, spectacular hike, head to the monument's visitor center outside Dinosaur, Colorado, and follow the 31-mile paved road to Harpers Corner. There, a moderate, mile-long trail offers jaw-dropping vistas of the monument's canyon country, including the serpentine meanders of the Yampa River canyon and monolithic Steamboat Rock, where the Yampa and Green Rivers converge. Had a proposed dam for this site not been thwarted in one of the environmental movement's earliest victories, both river canyons would now be inundated.

Continued in: Diggin' For Dinosaurs - Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail

Back To Start

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)