Tag Archive for: dinosaurs

Peter Makovicky introduces us to Siats meekerorum, a new species of dinosaur discovered and described by him and Lindsay Zanno!
Watch the YouTube video HERE

For more information, read their paper HERE
and THIS RELEASE from The Field Museum

Hear now, hear now!

Jim Kirkland, our Utah State Paleontologist, is interviewed on the KPCW Park City NPR radio science show, Cool Science Radio. Check it out! His interview begins in the second half of the interview at 27 minutes, but give the whole thing a listen. Enjoy!


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The Bureau of Land Management Utah Moab Field Office is seeking site stewards for several key dinosaur track sites.



An armored dinosaur found in a Spanish open-pit coal mine suggests that North America and Europe were connected for millions of years longer than previously thought.

A cast of part of the track slab showing several trackways of two different sizes of pterosaurs.

A 900 lb. slab of rock with some of the best preserved pterosaur (flying reptile) tracks ever recognized was discovered on State Land in the San Rafael Swell near the town of Ferron by a team from Marietta College (Ohio).  This slab of rock from the Jurassic Summerville Formation preserves at least 9 separate trackways of 2 different sizes of pterosaurs that were walking along a tidal flat near the shore of the Curtis Sea.  We know the tracks were made by pterosaurs because, in addition to the hind foot prints, there are tracks made by the wings.  So, unlike birds that walk bipedally on their hind feet while folding their wings against their bodies, pterosaurs walked quadrupedally using their folded up wings to support the front of their bodies.  This site and the tracks were documented in a scientific publication in 2004 (Mickelson and others, 2004).

Because of the scientific importance of this slab, a team from the Utah Geological Survey (UGS) collected it in 2004 so that it could be placed in the Natural History Museum of Utah (the repository for all of the fossils collected by the UGS from public lands in Utah).  Due to its large size, this slab has been stored at the UGS’s Utah Core Research Center since collection.

Recently, the Natural History Museum of Utah agreed to loan the slab to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City for display in a new exhibit on pterosaurs.  On November 14, a team from Terry Dowd Inc. (a fine art packing company) came to the UGS to package the slab in a custom crate so that it could be transported by truck to New York.  The slab was cradled in ethafoam so that it will be well protected during the long drive to New York which began on November 19.  Eventually, the slab will be returned to the Natural History Museum of Utah for display.

The UGS’s Martha Hayden, Don DeBlieux, and Jim Kirkland with their complimentary copies of the volume.

Following the 1996 establishment of the Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument (GSENM), paleontological research in this largely unstudied region of the nation accelerated at a remarkable pace, thanks to an infusion of research dollars from the federal government. Much of this research centered on the Upper Cretaceous of the Kaiparowits Plateau, which is at the center of the most continuous belt of terrestrial Cretaceous rocks anywhere in North America. The Utah Geological Survey was in the thick of it with early general survey projects and the later, more focused, Wahweap Project in the southern Kaiparowits Plateau from 2001–2005, which resulted in the discovery of Diabloceratops eatoni. Additionally, significant funded projects were undertaken by the Museum of Northern Arizona and the Natural History Museum of Utah (NHMU).

The results of this burst of scientific exploration has now been summarized in the massive  volume “At the Top of the Grand Staircase: The Late Cretaceous of Southern Utah,” edited by the Alan L. Titus (GSENM) and Mark Loewen (NHMU), published just this past month by Indiana University Press. The 634-page book includes 28 chapters, starting with papers on the geology and sedimentology of the regions, followed by papers on the fossil plants, invertebrates, fish, amphibians, turtles, lizards, crocodilians, marine reptiles, and chapters on each major group of dinosaurs. The UGS’s Jim Kirkland, Don DeBlieux, and Martha Hayden just received their complimentary copies of the volume for their contributions and will be spending the rest of the year looking over this magnificent contribution to our knowledge of Utah’s geological and paleontological record.


Weighing in at more than 2 tons and two dozen feet long, a new species of dinosaur related to Tyrannosaurus rex was fierce enough to be dubbed “King of Gore.” The discovery of “Lythronax argestes” at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah was announced Wednesday at the Natural History Museum of Utah and coincides with the publication of a study in PLoS ONE, an open access scientific journal.



A remarkable new species of tyrannosaur has been unearthed in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM), southern Utah. The huge carnivore inhabited Laramidia, a landmass formed on the western coast of a shallow sea that flooded the central region of North America, isolating western and eastern portions of the continent for millions of years during the Late Cretaceous Period, between 95-70 million years ago. The newly discovered dinosaur, belonging to the same evolutionary branch as the famous Tyrannosaurus rex, was announced today in the open-access scientific journal PLOS ONE and unveiled on exhibit in the Past Worlds Gallery at the Natural History Museum of Utah at the Rio Tinto Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.



For paleontologists Randall Irmis and Andrew Milner, the tiny stuff matters, especially when you’re exploring the dawn of big reptiles. Microscopic fossilized pollen, two-inch fishes, even the color of the rock that bones are embedded in say a lot about the landscapes dinosaurs roamed, the climate, what they ate and what their prey ate.