Where Are Most Dinosaur Bones Found In The United States

The Best Places In America To See Fossils

Discover Dinosaur Utopia: Utah

Fossils predate the written record by billions of years, but their impact on human historyand the way humans percieve the world around themhas been palpable for centuries. By offering a rare glimpse into worlds forgotten or unknown, fossils have long fascinated humans. Sometimes, fossils inspired mythology and folklorein fourth century China, a historian mistook a fossilized dinosaur bone for a dragon bone. Other times, fossils gave scientists the physical evidence needed to piece together the natural history of life on Earthin the late 1700s, fossil discoveries helped scientists understand the concept of extinction. Today, studying the fossil record remains as critical as ever. As the Earth’s climate continues to change, understanding how previous species adapted to changes in the past gives scientists an indication about how we might respond to changes in the future.

To celebrate National Fossil Day, take a trip back through the Earth’s four main geologic eras, and check out places in the United States where you can see, firsthand, the evolution of life on Earth.

“The Age of Early Life”the Precambrian Period

“Age of Fishes”the Paleozoic Era

To do some fossil hunting of your own, head to Lilydale Regional Park outside of St. Paul, Minnesota. The park is filled with fossils from the Cambrian and Ordovician periods, the first two periods of the Paleozoic era. However, note that you need to apply for a permit to collect fossils in the area.


/10 3 Rocky Hill Connecticut

There is a Dinosaur State Park located in Rocky Hill, Connecticut where you can go to live out your paleontologist dreams. This area is covered in dinosaur tracks and there are plenty of nature trails for you to explore.

If you are one of the lucky ones you might be able to find your own set of bones or a new set of trails that were left by these prehistoric beasts. They also have several activities that change throughout the year so you and your family can have a blast learning about the past.

Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park Royal Nebraska

Now known for its abundance of Miocene-era mammal remains, the Ashfall Fossil Beds can be traced back to one macabre event that occurred roughly 12 million years ago. After a bout of intense volcanic activity, massive plumes of ash swept across the Nebraska landscape, suffocating all of the living creatures that had gathered around a life-sustaining watering hole. To get an up-close view of this sprawling prehistoric graveyard, visitors can head straight to the Hubbard Rhino Barn, an active dig site thats rife with perfectly-preserved skeletons on display. The Teleocerasa type of ancient rhinocerosis most common here, though visitors can spot American camel legs and early horse remains as well.

Read Also: Dinosaur Lego Set For 4 Year Olds

In Which States Are Dinosaur Fossils Found

Dinosaurs have been drawing the interest of kids and adults alike for ages. Fossilized remains of these creatures can be found across the globe, and numerous sites within the Unites States contain fossils. Some states with dinosaur fossils have more diversity and types of fossils than others, but you might be surprised to find how many different U.S. states contain fossils!

Where Are Fossils Found

New study reveals North America

Fossils are found almost exclusively in sedimentary rocksrocks that form when sand, silt, mud, and organic material settle out of water or air to form layers that are then compacted into rock. So in looking for non-avian dinosaur fossils in particular, paleontologists look for outcrops of sedimentary rocks that formed during the Mesozoic Era , the geologic time period when non-avian dinosaurs lived. Scientists typically search in regions where little vegetation covers the surface of the ground, so that any fossil fragments weathering out of the sedimentary rock layers can be more easily seen. These regions of barren ridges and ravines are often referred to as badlands.

In order to find appropriate Mesozoic, sedimentary rock layers, paleontologists often use geologic maps, which show the kinds of rock layers of different geologic ages that are exposed on Earths surface in different regions. Once appropriate rock layers are found, the search for dinosaur fossils can begin with a reasonable hope of finding the kinds of dinosaurs one is searching for. And other kinds of fossils are often serendipitously discovered during the search.

Also Check: Jurassic Park Book On Tape

How Do You Know If You Found A Dinosaur Bone

Mostly, however, heavy and lightly colored objects are rocks, like flint. Paleontologists also examine the surfaces of potential fossils. If they are smooth and do not have any real texture, they are probably rocks. Even if it is shaped like a bone, if it does not have the right texture then it is probably a rock.

The States With The Most Dinosaur Discoveries

In 1836, two Massachusetts residents found a series of three-toed tracks embedded in sandstone in the Connecticut River Valley. The president of Amherst College, Reverend Edward Hitchcock, described the tracks in the American Journal of Science as having been made by giant, three-toed birds. The footprints were, in fact, dinosaur footprints.

Hitchcocks article would go down in history as one of the first scientific descriptions of dinosaur fossils made in the United States. Dinosaur fossils, including tracks, have been found in all but five states Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, and Kentucky.

To compile a list of the states with the most dinosaur fossils, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the Paleobiology Database, a public database of paleontological data maintained by paleontologists from around the world. Numbers do not reflect all dinosaur fossils in the U.S., but rather the fossils available in public collections. Most commonly found fossils are listed as species unless otherwise noted. Data is accurate as of September 2022.

When Reverend Hitchcock presumed that the prehistoric tracks were made by birds, he wasnt far off. It is commonly accepted that modern birds can trace their ancestry back to a clade of dinosaurs known as theropods, which had hollow bones, three toes, and clawed limbs. Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor are some of the better-known theropods.

Sponsored: Tips for Investing

You May Like: The Good Dinosaur Free Movie

/10 2 Fording Coal Mine Canada

These might not be bones, but Raptor tracks are pretty cool and mean that there are probably some bones nearby. They found 140 million years old tracks in the mines and it only goes to show that there is so much more to be uncovered.

You have to wonder what else is there to discover in this area as we dig deeper into the Earth. This means it is up to you to find the next big thing in paleontology and this is a great place to start.

How Are Dinosaur Fossils Prepared In The Laboratory

Worldâs most complete triceratops fossil on display in Melbourne | 9 News Australia

Fossil preparators are highly skilled technicians who extract fossils from the surround matrix, use adhesives and consolidants to stabilize the fossils and prepare molds and casts of the specimens.

When fossils arrive from the field, they are encased in plaster jackets, as well as the rock, or matrix, which surrounds the fossils. Fossil preparation involves cutting open the plaster jacket and removing this matrix surrounding the fossil. The matrix may be soft and crumbly, when the sand or mud is poorly cemented together, or it can be extremely hard, when the sediments are well cemented. Accordingly, a wide variety of tools are required to remove the matrix and stabilize the fossil. Commonly, dental tools are used to carefully pick away sediment near the bone, along with custom-made needles composed of carbide steel. Formerly, chisels and hammers were used to remove blocks of matrix farther away from the bone, but recently, smaller mechanical tools have taken their place. These include small grinding wheels, miniature jackhammers called air scribes, and tiny sand-blasters powered by compressed air.

Learn more about .

Don’t Miss: Where Can I Watch The Original Jurassic Park

Two Medicine Dinosaur Center Montana

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Seismosaurus skeletal model displayed at Montana‘s Two Medicine Dinosaur Center is the world’s longest dinosaur. This 137-foot model, which has a curving neck and tail and a natural-looking shape, was created by paleontologist Dave Trexler of Two Medicine. Several exhibits include the real remains of other new dinosaur species as well as the first baby dinosaur remains discovered in North America, which were recently highlighted on CNN. The Two Medicine Dinosaur Center of Montana offers programs that are meant to let participants work alongside real researchers and personnel. Participants can acquire the most recent ideas and methods of fossil preservation through such contact, which improves the reporting and recording of fossil findings.

Petrified Forest National Park Arizona

The fossil fauna of Petrified Forest National Park includes dinosaurs, which are uncommon yet significant. The Late Triassic “dawn of the dinosaurs,” when these species first came on Earth, is preserved in park deposits. The Triassic dinosaurs of Arizona were mostly tiny, bipedal carnivores no larger than humans in size, as opposed to the enormous sauropods, horned dinosaurs, and the fabled Tyrannosaurus rex of the later Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. The majority of park visitors are shocked to learn that dinosaur fossils are an uncommon find there. Instead of a lack of dinosaurs in the Triassic, this rarity is probably the result of characteristics of fossil preservation.

You May Like: When Does The New Jurassic Park Come Out

Unique Fossil Locations: Carlsbad Caverns

This park, located in New Mexico, contains a fossilized reef that dates back to the Permian Age. The fossilized reef, known as “Captain Reef,” dates back some 265 million years. In that period, the land was covered by a shallow, coastal sea. You can also spot fossilized snails, bivalves, crinoids, brachiopods and more throughout the area.

What Are Some Findings From The Utah Cretaceous Period Fossils

Hemirodon Trilobite Fossil  Cambrian, United States  My Lost Gems

The more than 6,000 fossils include approximately 80 different types of animals found in Emery County, Utah. The specimens at this dig are thought to be about 100 million years old and are the first fossils found in this area from a span of time ranging from about 145 to 65 million years ago .

These fossils will help shed some light on the great changes that occurred during this time period.

There have been some very interesting findings associated with these Cretaceous fossils. For example, the early dominant dinosaurs in North America during this period appear to have been the large, long-necked sauropods. But their huge numbers, combined with their huge appetites, caused them to essentially clear-cut the existing forests. The new flowering plants then moved in and took over, being fastgrowing and capable of rapid colonization. These early flowering plants grew low to the ground as bushes and shrubs the long-necked sauropods faded from the scene, apparently having eaten themselves out of a food supply. To take advantage of these low-lying plants, new forms of dinosaurs emerged and became dominant. These included such animals as the duckbills and the short, squat, horned dinosaurs.

Read Also: Jurassic World Dominion Dinosaurs Toys

Are There Fossils In Hawaii

Most of Hawaiis animal fossil record consists of marine life. Organisms that once lived on these higher seafloors are now fossilized and exposed on the islands of Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, and Maui. The islands sparse local fossil record is dominated by corals and mollusks.

Where can I dig for Megalodon teeth?

River beds, ocean shores and generally any shallow water areas along the coast make excellent places to begin your search. You can find megalodon teeth by digging and sifting through the sediment with a small shovel and a sifting screen. Get into the water with the bucket, shovel and sifting screen.

The Two Medicine Dinosaur Center Bynum Montana

There are various types of digs you can get involved with here from simple half-day sessions, perfect for beginners who want a little insight into the process of unearthing dinosaur fossils, to full-day sessions, all the way up to a 6-day camping and digging expeditions up by the Canadian border.

The longer expeditions take place in the Judith River Formation, where you can help archaeologists on their mission to uncover, reassemble and preserve two full dinosaurs.

The shorter day-long sessions usually involve a training session at an inactive/mock-up dig site in the morning, followed by a fully hands-on dig in the afternoon to find yet undiscovered remains.

Recommended Reading: Does The Bible Say Anything About Dinosaurs

Calvert Cliffs Lusby Maryland

Marylands Calvert Peninsula is streaked with towering cliffs today, but these natural phenomena were nowhere to be found just a few million years ago. During the Miocene era, the region was completely submerged in a shallow sea, leaving a treasure trove of marine fossils to be discovered once water levels dropped. From ancient crocodile remains to whale vertebrae, the Chesapeake Bay is ripe with what’s left of the area’s prehistoric aquatic life. Though some fossils remain buried deep in the cliffs, amateur paleontologists are free to hit the beach in search of preserved sea shells and shark teeth easily found just beneath the surface of the sand.

Can You Keep Fossils You Find On Public Land

5 Best Places To Find Dinosaur Bones & Fossils

fossils and the remains of vertebrate animals . The US federal land laws forbid any collection of vertebrate fossils without an institutional permit, but allow hobby collection of common invertebrate and plant fossils on most federal land , and even commercial collection of petrified wood.

Can I keep a fossil I find?

In the United States, the fossilized remains of the mighty creatures that lived in eons past are subject to an age-old lawfinders keepers. In America, if you find a dinosaur in your backyard, that is now your dinosaur. Fossils found on private land belong to the landowner.

You May Like: Where To Stay Near Dinosaur National Monument

Best Places In The Us To Find Dinosaur Fossils

Did you know that the USA has the biggest variety of dinosaur remains in the world? Scientists and archaeologists are still regularly unearthing complete skeletons all across the Western and South-western parts of the country, and the best part is, you can join them!

So if youre feeling like channeling your inner Jeff Goldblum and heading out on a dig, heres a list of some of the very best hot spots to find a dinosaur fossil in the US.

Missouri Among States With The Most Dinosaur Fossils

  • Story name: States with the most dinosaur fossils

Humans fascination with dinosaurs goes back at least 2,000 years to Chinese writings describing what were thought to be massive dragon bones. In the 17th century, an English museum curator discovered a large thigh bone he posited was from a human giant. The first scientific designation of a group of animals called dinosaurs came about in the 1840s. 1993s blockbuster “Jurassic Park” drove our 20th-century obsession with dinosaurs into overdrive. And with each new fossil discovery and dinosaur movie release, our intrigue with these prehistoric predators only grows.

Every American state has searched its soil for dinosaur fossils, but some states have more old dinosaur bones than others. Anyone lucky enough to stumble on some is likely to strike pay dirt: The worlds most complete T. rex skeleton fetched a record-setting $31.8 million in a 2020 auction.

To determine which states have the most dinosaur fossils, Stacker consulted the Paleobiology Database, a non-profit public resource that brings together fossil records from research institutions around the world. Data is current as of May 2022. We pulled all records labeled Dinosauria and sorted them by state. It is important to note that these records do not comprehensively reflect all dinosaur fossil records in the U.S., but rather represent a sample via the fossils available in public collections.

Continue reading to discover which states have the most dinosaur fossils.

Don’t Miss: Dinosaur Shoes That Light Up

The Wyoming Dinosaur Center Thermopolis Wyoming

The Wyoming Dinosaur Center is in the heart of the Morrison Formation which is thought to be around 155 million years old. The center opened in the mid-90s, and since then over 10,000 bones have been discovered here, mainly from Diplodocus, Camarasaurus, and Apatosaurus dinosaurs.

There are half-day and full-day packages available, but if youre keen to get the most out of your dig, shoot for the full-day option, as youll also get a guided tour of the centers museum. If youre lucky enough to find a dinosaur fossil, youll be added to their official register and hall of fame, and the item will be stored on-site for further research.

/10 8 Lavini Di Marco Italy

Dinosaur Fossil: Dinosaur Fossil New Jersey

This was a huge dig site in Italy that uncovered several dinosaur bones that contributed to an expansion of our knowledge on these prehistoric creatures. They have found dinosaur bones, but have also uncovered tracks and other invertebrate species.

RELATED: 10 Ancient City Ruins You Should Add To Your Bucket List

The species found are mostly from the Early Jurassic era and have discovered evidence of therapods and sauropods. You can travel around this area and make your own discoveries, as well as see some of the tracks left behind by these ancient beasts.

Recommended Reading: Tamer King Of Dinosaurs Book 8 Release Date

What Dinosaurs Lived In The Badlands

In what is now called the Badlands, an area so named because nothing much grows there, rhinos once roamed. Lakes and rivers in what is now a bone-dry landscape once sustained a population of large land tortoises. Cinematic favorites like Triceratops, duck-billed dinosaurs and Tyrannosaurus rex traversed North Dakota.

Top 8 Destinations In The United States For Dinosaur Fans

The prehistoric world awed many travelers long before Jurassic Park hit theaters. Although we might never have the chance to view these extinct animals in the flesh, there are plenty of fossils for amateur paleontologists and dinosaur fans to study. The United States is home to a truly stunning variety of these sites, ranging from active dig sites littered with prehistoric rhinos to a highly concentrated pile of Allosaurus skeletons that have confounded paleontologists for decades.

Recommended Reading: When Is Jurassic Park Coming Out

More on this topic

Popular stories