It is December and the end of 2016 is coming up! It went so fast for me and all of a sudden here comes 2017. It has been a wonderful year for our museum and so much of it is due to all of you who visit us during the year and come to our special events. We are grateful for our members, old and new, and thank you all for spreading the word about our world class museum tucked in the mountains of beautiful Woodland Park.
Come see what this Daspletosaurus looks like all put together.
Christmas break for a lot of you goes on until Jan. 9th, so try and stop by the museum and see what is new before heading back to school. One new and important exhibit is the Daspletosaurus, a 35 foot specimen along with a New Centrosaurine Ceratopsian nicknamed “AVA”, which is a new genus of dinosaur, just as you enter the main hall of the museum. Very impressive!
If it is what it seems…
The skull of a 140 million year old dinosaur believed to be Apatosaurus louisae was found at the Mygatt-Moore Quarry by 8 year old Lachlan Barrett of Florida while on a dig vacation with his grandmother. It is only one of four such skulls that have been discovered according to Julia McHugh, curator of paleontology for the Museum of Western Colorado in Fruita, Co. If it proves to be what the scientists think it is, it would become just the fourth known such specimen and the only one with vertebrae still attached.
Julia McHugh, curator of paleontology for the Museum of Western Colorado
It is going to be a long time between the discovery of this skull and the displaying of the skull. Dr. McHugh is confident it will reveal the brain case and eye orbits when the preparation is finished. For now, the top of the head remains encased in rock and only the palate and some teeth roots are visible.
“When I was digging I found this thing with white rings around it. I pulled it out and put it aside”, said Lachlan. “A paleontologist came to my house and told me I had found the jaw of an apatosaurus”. Those “white rings” were teeth that were embedded in the skull when the dinosaur died in a bog that contained the remains of many other dinosaurs.
The skull was found some 4 feet below the surface. Allosaurus wrist bones were also found when they took away some of the overlaying rock. These are rare finds in themselves. The vertebrae found makes this skull unique among the four known or suspected apatosaurus skulls.
Sauropod skulls are rare because they were very light and tended to fall apart into dozens of pieces when they died, said Brooks Britt, from Brigham Young University. They are called the headless wonders because the skulls are so difficult to find. If you find an articulated skull, that is fantastic!
“I really love dinosaurs, and I might ask my grandma if I can do it again” Lachlan said.