More Fun Than the Movie
The latest Jurassic World film came out this month. And that got us thinking about dinosaurs. Did you know that Utah is a hotbed of paleontological discovery for the Jurassic era? Well it is. In fact, we recently got a new national monument just for all the dino fossils we keep finding. It’s called the Jurassic National Monument and we think you should go check it out. After all, it’s got to be better than the movie.
So Where is This Monument?
The new Jurassic National Monument is located near Cleveland, Utah. And if you’re up-to-date on your dinosaur news, you already know that the area is a gold mine for fossils. In fact, it’s got the densest collection of Jurassic-era fossils of anywhere in the world. For years, there has been a dig site and research center for scientific discovery and public relations at the nearby Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry. But now, the quarry, the visitor center, and the surrounding land are all incorporated into the new monument.
And What’s the Big Deal?
As we mentioned, the area contains lots and lots of fossils. Experts estimate that over 12,000 individual bones have been removed from the site, possibly including several complete skeletons. (With so many fossils, from so many different eras, it can be a little hard to know for sure.) So how did all of these fossils end up in this area? Well, again, it’s a little hard to be certain, but one suggestion is that long ago there was a “predator trap” located nearby. Something – like a tar pit – trapped dinosaurs, which attracted predators, who might also have become trapped. So a lot of dinos died there, leaving us with a massive fossil record.
So It’s A Science Monument?
Mostly, yes. The designation as a national monument will help protect the area for scientific research, allowing for more fossil discovery. But it will also provide a great resource for the public. The visitor center at the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry is basically a museum. It has complete Allosaurus and Stegosaurus skeletons on display. And there is a lot of great information there. So yeah, it’s a science monument, but Jurassic National Monument is also a perfect place to take your 3rd-grader who is absolutely in love with dinosaurs, especially if you can’t stand to watch that last Jurassic World movie. Yikes. Plus, it’s got a few easy hiking trails to explore.