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Discoveries

Bone Discoveries
Dinosaur Ridge is one of the world's most famous dinosaur fossil localities.  In 1877, some of the best-known dinosaurs were first discovered by Arthur Lakes, a professor at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden.  These included Apatosaurus, Stegosaurus, the Colorado State Fossil; and Allosaurus.  These specimens represent animals that lived 150 million years ago in the Late Jurassic Period, also known as the "Age of Giants".

These discoveries sparked a historic dinosaur "gold rush" that traced the bone-bearing strata, known as the Morrison Formation (named after the Town of Morrison to the south), across a large part of the Rocky Mountain region.  This "Golden Age" of 19th century dinosaur exploration led to the discovery of many other important sites in the West.  The dozens of successful excavations at Dinosaur Ridge and at these other locations stocked many of the world's museums and brought dinosaurs to public attention.


Track Discoveries
In 1937, during the construction of West Alameda Parkway, dinosaur tracks were discovered on the east side of Dinosaur Ridge in the 100-million year-old rocks of the Dakota Group, representing the Early Cretaceous Period. These tracks are those of Iguanodon-like plant-eating dinosaurs and ostrich-sized meat-eating dinosaurs.  Recent research has revealed that these tracks represent only a small part of the extensive track-bearing beds of the Dakota Group that can be traced from Boulder, Colorado to northern New Mexico.   Because these strata represent the shoreline sediments of an ancient seaway that was frequently trampled by dinosaurs, these beds have been called the "Dinosaur Freeway."

In 2004 the Friends of Dinosaur Ridge opened the Triceratops Trail to the public.  This half-mile-long trail is located in reclaimed clay pits in Golden that are now next to the Fossil Trace Golf Club.  Many 68 million-year-old trace fossils can be found along this trail, including tracks of dinosaurs, mammals, birds, and beetles.

 

Morrison-Golden Fossil Areas Natural National Landmark

Map of the newly named Morrison-Golden Fossil Areas Natural National Landmark. (click to zoom)

 

Dinosaur Ridge - 16831 W Alameda Pkwy., Morrison, CO 80465 - 303-697-3466
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