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Utah’s Dinosaur ‘Death Trap’ Reveals Trove of Giant Predators

Remember the family of Utah Raptors that arrived in a 9-ton ‘block’ in Salt Lake City a few months ago? Our Paleontologists here at the UGS have been working very closely on this project for years. Check out this wonderful highlight on their work so far, where you can see interviews from Utah State Paleontologist James Kirkland, and Paleontologists, Don DeBlieux and Scott Madsen.

news.nationalgeographic.com

A nine-ton block of sandstone that was pulled from a Utah mountain late last year holds the biggest fossil trove ever found of the giant predatory dinosaur known as Utahraptor. Covered in feathers, with a huge sickle claw on each second toe, Utahraptor looked like a pumped-up version of the Jurassic Park star Velociraptor.

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And further reading in this article below…

Fossil treasure trove in quicksand reveals ancient dinosaur death trap

washingtonpost.com

Reports of what looked like a human arm brought Utah state paleontologist James Kirkland to a particular sandstone hill in 2001. But it turned out that his graduate student had actually found something entirely different — a veritable mass grave of Utahraptor dinosaurs. Now they’ve found the remains of six individual dinosaurs, and there may still be more inside of the 9-ton sandstone block they’re excavating.

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UGS paleontology work at Stike’s Quarry September 2013

The UGS paleontology field program, Jim Kirkland, Don DeBlieux, and Scott Madsen, recently complete 2 weeks of field work at our Stike’s Quarry dinosaur site in eastern Utah.  This spectacular site has been the subject of news reports earlier this summer and is the site where a episode of the Discovery Channel television show Dirty Jobs was filmed in 2011.  This site contains the well-preserved remains of numerous dinosaurs, including adult and juvenile Utahraptor skeletons.  We have had difficulty removing the bones from this site because there are so many clustered together.  Because they are packed so closely together, we have had to use plaster and burlap to jacket a large block with the hope of one day using a large cargo helicopter to fly the block – now on the order of 5 tons – off of the large mesa on which it is located.   The large number of bones at this site, along with the nature of the sediments that they are preserved in, leads us to hypothesize that the animals were trapped in a dewatering feature (something similar to quicksand).   Our work this September focused on further excavating, isolating, and pedestaling the main block.  Work was initially hampered by several days of rain which pinned our team in camp unable to work or leave because the ground and roads became muddy and impassible.

As the weather cleared,

we were able to make good progress with an electric powered jack-hammer and pneumatic chisels to remove rock from around and under the block.  This was not the fine-detail, dental pick, and paint brush paleontology that many picture – but back breaking manual labor more akin to highway construction!

Many tons of rock where removed by hand and a tunnel was completed under the jacket leaving it on two large pedestals.


The exposed rock around the bone was covered in plaster to protect it from the elements.  Our final task to ready the block for transport, is to construct a wooden timber frame and box around the jacket to reinforce and stabilize it.  We hope to complete this work in the Spring of 2014.  We were assisted in the field by several volunteers from the Utah Friends of Paleontology.  The excavation was conducted under a permit from the State of Utah.  The BLM allowed us access to the site.

Dinosaur death trap outside Arches National Park could reveal a lot about how they lived

deseretnews.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

A herd of dinosaurs are trapped in rock outside Arches National Park, and state paleontologists need a helicopter to bring it back to the lab to see what’s really inside.

State paleontologists hope to line up a helicopter in the next few weeks to bring back the extraordinary discovery near Moab.

 

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PALEONTOLOGISTS TRYING TO MOVE 5-TON HERD OF FOSSILIZED DINOSAURS

ksl.com

Utah paleontologists are looking for one enormous helicopter to lift a herd of dinosaurs

It may sound like fiction or a scene from Jurassic Park, but there’s a herd of Utahraptors near Moab and paleontologists are trying to figure out how to move it.

WATCH IT HERE
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