Friday, April 26, 2013

Baby Stegos Galore (Stegosaurus Week)

In 2002, paleontologists from the Morrison Natural History Museum rediscovered an old paleontological dig site that had been missing since the late 1800s. One of many highly-contested sites of the so-called “Bone Wars” (a paleontological competition between rival paleontologists Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope), this dig site, dubbed Quarry 10, has been the site of many very interesting discoveries, as has another Quarry nearby, Quarry 5.

Quarry 10 had long thought to have been destroyed. Fossil hunter Arthur Lakes had reportedly dynamited the dig site on Marsh’s orders, to prevent Cope from getting any fossil bones out of it. However, it looks like Arthur Lakes was a very good man, and did not actually dynamite the dig site. According to the MNHM paleontologists, it looks like Lakes, not wanting to destroy something that was potentially very valuable, decided to merely cover up the site with some rocks in order to prevent other people from coming across it.

Further excavations at the Quarrys have yielded a number of VERY interesting fossils, including, amongst others, some baby Stegosaurus footprints! Multiple blocks have been uncovered with the footprints of Stegosaurus at all different stages of development, everything from infants to adults. On some of the blocks, multiple age groups are found in close conjunction to each other, and sometimes are found going the same way. This seems to indicate that Stegosaurus would move in groups consisting on members of multiple ages, a very interesting discovery indeed!

Want to learn more about Stegosaurus?  Well, check out the Homebase for Stegosaurus Week HERE to partake in more of the festivities! You can also check out a song that I wrote to the tune of Carrie Underwood's "Two Black Cadillacs" to learn more about the Bone Wars, below!

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