ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Diggin' For Dinosaurs - Dinosaur Provincial Park, Part 2

Updated on March 30, 2010

Bring along some extra time, too - at least two days for an in-depth visit. The park offers five self-guided trails, which are nice enough. But it's a lot more interesting to go out with a park interpreter, who can get you into areas that are otherwise off-limits and who can also answer questions. Space is limited on these tours, and the park holds half the places for same-day sales, so you'll need to be a little flexible. Reservations can be made by telephone and are strongly recommended.

There are some other advantages to a guided hike. Unless you know why the giant, mushroom-shaped rock formations dotting the park are called "hoodoos," for example, it's good to have someone along who does, someone who can tell you that they form under caps of harder rock like ironstone as water erodes the softer mudstone beneath until the cap balances precariously atop a slender column.

The interpreters offer three different hikes, each about two and a half hours long. For those with sturdy legs, the hike to a Centrosaurus bone bed is worth the trip. Centrosaurs were horned dinosaurs, and this site is a mass grave where hundreds of adults, youths, and youngsters perished at once, about 75 million years ago. Their death together indicates that they probably lived together as well, traveling in vast migrating herds like today's wildebeests in Africa. One theory about what killed this group is that the front of the herd halted at a flood-swollen river. The back of the herd, not knowing what was going on, may have surged forward and shoved their traveling companions into the torrent - again, much as wildebeests do today.

After a 20-minute trek up two sandstone ridges - here's where you'll regret wearing those sneakers - you'll see the remains of an excavation at the site. Part of the hillside is protected by what looks like a large garage door (which, in fact, it is; palaeontologists tend to favor low-tech equipment). When the interpreters open it, you can see bits of centrosaur frills, horns, jaws, ribs, and limb bones. They will pass around some fossils for you to examine; look carefully for puncture marks made by the teeth of scavenging tyrannosaurs, who had themselves a picnic at the site. Take a moment to hike up to the Citadel, a rock formation overlooking the dig. You'll get a spectacular view of the badlands and get to see more centrosaur bones from this immense bed sticking out from the other side of the hill.

A coulee hike is a little easier, but it focuses more on the current inhabitants of the badlands than it does on the ones who died out 65 million years ago. You'll encounter more of the deceased on what the park glibly calls its Fossil Safari, which goes to a dig site in the otherwise inaccessible natural preserve. For the less athletically inclined, the park does have a bus tour, which covers the major features, explains some of the history, and stops at a couple of outdoor displays where you can examine dinosaur skeletons. Each of these gives you a chance to spot a bit of shiny white or brown against a background of muted grays and reds, and feel the thrill of discovering a fossil.

Continued in: Diggin' For Dinosaurs - Eastend Fossil Research Station

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)