Dinosaur Discoveries in the United States Throughout History
What Caused the Extinction of the Dinosaur?
Dinosaurs are probably the most infamous extinct animals because many many were taller than the giraffe, heavier than the elephant, and walked on two legs. At one time, thousands of dinosaurs roamed the earth, much as we do. Unfortunately, there is much about their disappearance that is unknown. One of the most popular beliefs is that a meteor caused their extinction. Fortunately for us, they left their fingerprints behind in the form of fossils that allow us to study them today. Every day there are new dinosaur discoveries. Two of the latest dinosaur discoveries were uncovered recently within the United States: the Kosmoceratops and Utahceratops.
Barnum BrownClick thumbnail to view full-size
A Great Dinosaur Rush in America
Many of these discoveries would not have taken place if it was not for two great dinosaur rushes in America. One began in Colorado and continued in Wyoming during the late 1870s. Two elite paleontologists started it at Yale University: Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Marsh.
They first discovered a great mass of dinosaur bones in the Garden Park area of Colorado. Shortly after, they found more in Como Bluff, Wyoming, which began a mad search for dinosaur bones, specifically in the North American region. Although these men began as friends, the rush caused feuds between them. They later became great rivals due to the intense search for dinosaur bones, which proved great scientifically since it led to many discoveries, but not for the relationship of the old friends.
A second Dinosaur Rush began in the Red Deer River, located in southern Alberta, Canada, around the early nineteen hundreds. Although the first dinosaur discovery in this area was in 1884, it took 30 years before the rush truly began. This rush also caused a feud to begin. Fortunately, this was a much friendlier and healthier competition that served to further the discoveries of dinosaurs. It was between two great paleontologists: Barnum Brown, who worked for the American Museum of Natural History in New York and C.H. Sternberg, who worked for the Geological Survey of Canada.
First Dinosaur Discovery: Hadrosaurus Foulkii
The term dinosaur, or at least dinosaurios, was first coined in 1842. It was not until many years later, in the early to mid-nineteen hundreds, that people began to understand what dinosaurs looked like.
The first fully-formed dinosaur specimen was found in Haddonfield, New Jersey. They named this dinosaur the Hadrosaurus foulkii. William Parker Foulke discovered it as he was vacationing in the town. He ended up hiring a crew to dig out this creature. It is bigger than an elephant with lizard and birdlike features.
The Hadrosaurus stood on only two legs with very short arms. Before this time, many believed that all reptiles walked on all fours, not bipedal; therefore, this was a significant discovery. The Hadrosaurus foulkii was first on display in the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, in 1868. For many years, this was the only dinosaur on display, although they created many casts that they spread out to other museums.
The Tyrannosaurus Rex
The infamous T Rex mostly lived in the United States of America. Only 30 Tyrannosaurus fossils have ever been discovered, and most of them in the western part of the US. There have been some uncovered in Montana, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. There was also a Tyrannosaurus rex footprint found in New Mexico. The only other places that have unearthed this magnificent beast is Canada and Mongolia (Asia).
The most significant find was found in Montana, in 2000, when Jack and Celeste Horner, Bob Harmon, Larry Boychuk, and Greg Wilson uncovered five Tyrannosaurus fossils near Fort Peck Reservoir. This was the first time anyone had discovered more than one of these great beasts in the same spot.
In South Dakota, Americans were lucky enough to discover a juvenile T. rex or Kid rex as they like to call it. They named this find Tinker, which was believed to be five or six when it died. It was only 2/3 of the size of an adult T. rex, and only a quarter of the weight. Fortunately, they were able to get quite a bit of information on this Kid rex since they unearthed 70 percent of its fossil remains. Since they have never been able to find a T. rex's full skeletal remains, 70 percent is a great find.
The most complete T. rex fossil was found in South Dakota as well, in August of 1990. They named it Sue, after Susan Hendrickson, the woman who discovered it. It can now be seen in Chicago at the Field Museum and has been there since 1997. It was auctioned at 7.6 million dollars!
KosmoceratopsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Kosmoceratops richardsoni: Dinosaur Discover in the Twenty First Century
Although that was the first, more recently, on Wednesday, September 22, 2010, a discovery was found in Salt Lake City, Utah. They found two dinosaurs. Neither matched a previously classified species of dinosaur, although both are closely related to the Triceratops. Because they each had unique differences, they were determined not to be a Triceratops.
Both were uncovered at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The monument is a hot spot for many discoveries of dinosaurs in the past decade. It is now a very rocky terrain, but secular scientists believe that several million years ago when dinosaurs were thought to have roamed the earth, it was very swampy. Like the Triceratops, they are one of the ceratopsids, which means they are four-legged herbivores.
One of these two discoveries was the Kosmoceratops richardsoni, which is probably the most ornate dinosaur ever discovered. It has fifteen horns on its head. Ten of these horns form a frill much like that of a Triceratops. Their horns point downward and out. The Kosmoceratops is believed to weigh about 2.5 tons and be 15 feet long. Their horns range from six inches to a foot long.
The other discovery was the Utahceratops gettyi. It only has five horns on its head, one horn that sticks straight up from the nose, and two more near the eyes that stick out like a bison's horn. The Utahceratops is slightly larger than the Kosmoceratops. Its head was about seven feet long and stood about six feet tall. The body was nearly 18 to 22 feet long and is believed to have weighed around 3 to 4 tons. The horns are about the same length as its cousins, the Kosmoceratops.
They believe that the horns on these dinosaurs were similar to the antlers on deer. Some believe they were used to attract sexual mates and intimidate competitors. They believe this because the horns would have made inferior weapons. If paleontologists are correct about the horns' purpose, then the horns probably did not begin to develop until around puberty, to show that they were mature enough to mate.
Fortunately for us, these are not the only dinosaurs that have been uncovered in America or across the world. Dinosaurs range from as small as a mouse too much bigger than any land animal today. Some believe that they roamed the Earth millions of years ago, although there is some record of Dinosaur-like creatures in historical texts, which causes the question to arise, when did they truly become extinct.
Amazing Horned Dinosaurs Discovered
- Early Dinosaur Discoveries in North America
- T. rex Fossils- EnchantedLearning.com
Barnum Brown discovered the first T. rex fossil. Tyrannosaurus rex was named in 1905 by Henry Fairfield Osborn.
- Two New Horned Dinosaurs Found in Utah
A giant with a supersized head and another sporting an array of "bony bells and whistles" were found in a "lost continent" in what is now Utah.
© 2010 Angela Michelle Schultz