A little more than a year ago, in the corner of a Salt Lake City tattoo parlor spattered with sci-fi ephemera and fantasy art, I watched as artist Jon McAffee inked an Allosaurus onto my arm. The bloody art was a celebration of a dream realized and a promise to myself.
The giant, sauropod-rending theropod Allosaurus is the state fossil of Utah, and a symbol of why I transplanted myself to the state. I moved west for the dinosaurs. But the tattoo represents more than that. I’m not content only writing about dinosaurs. I need to seek them out; to dig them from their resting places and contribute something to our understanding of prehistory. Allosaurus – the most common terror of 150 million year old Utah – was at the top of the list of the dinosaurs I wanted to meet among the badlands.