There is a place where a person can step back in time to see the bones of long-extinct creatures. This magical place is aptly named Dinosaur National Monument. Many fossils of dinosaurs were excavated here and have made their way to many of our nation’s best museums. The most amazing part is that fossils remain here and in a very large quantity on the Dinosaur Bone Wall.
The main attraction of the monument is the dinosaur bone wall which was excavated in place and then the Quarry Exhibit Hall was constructed around it. The Dinosaur Bone Wall is a stone wall that measures over 150′ in length, it is over two stories tall and has more than 1,500 exposed bones. This place allows visitors to discover these bones not as reconstructions like most museums, but in the natural state in which they were originally discovered over a century ago.
The Morrison Formation
The historic environmental conditions were perfect for preserving the petrified bones of these massive creatures. This layer of soil is known as the Morrison formation. Scientists have placed this formation in what is known as the late Jurassic Period, which is thought to have been about 150 million years ago. What was flat ground due to tectonic plate movements through the millennia has been turned on end so that the Morrison formation is now turned on end. It has been exposed as a vein on the surface of the earth making it easier for ancient fossils to be discovered as in many cases natural erosion unearths them.
In fact, there is a guided hike in Dinosaur National Monument along the Fossil Discovery Trail, where rangers will point out several naturally exposed bones sticking out of the hills.
Dinosaur National Monument
Being an adult child like I am, someone who is still able to remember the fascination I had with dinosaurs as a kid and the wonder that the movie Jurassic Park brought to my young mind, I found Dinosaur National Monument to be an amazing adventure. The Dinosaur Bone Wall is definitely the star of the monument, but the beauty of the Green River, the Yampa River, and the canyons the two rivers have carved out, not to mention the amazing petroglyphs from the Native Americans, makes this entire park a highly recommended destination when visiting the central west of the United States.
More Images of the Dinosaur Bone Wall
If you want to check out more of the Dinosaur Bone Wall you can take a look at the digital version of the wall that the Quarry Exhibit has started. It has info on about 500 of the more than 5,000 bones on the wall.