Jurassic dig uncovering hundreds of dinosaurs in Wyoming

WYOMING – A massive dino dig in north-central Wyoming is expected to eventually uncover hundreds of prehistoric monsters including some never before cataloged.

Geologists have long known about the dinosaur-rich Morrison Formation. Stretching from New Mexico to Montana, the sedimentary rocks, stones, and conglomerates hide thousands of dinosaur fossils dating from the Kimmeridgian and early Tithonian ages some 148 million to 155 million years old ago.

What has scientists especially excited lately is the discovery of a particularly prolific patch along the Morrison Formation dubbed “Jurassic Mile.” The exact location of the excavation is kept highly confidential for fear of fossil thieves. Reporters headed to the area to cover a news story must agree to switch off geotagging on their phones and avoid taking photographs that feature the horizon.

The $27.5 million project has taken on the name “Mission Jurassic.” The site is a treasure trove of Jurassic fossil bones, trackways, and preserved plant life from millions of years ago that will undoubtedly lead to never-before-told stories about the Jurassic Period.

So far, Mission Jurassic has definitively identified at least four mighty sauropods. There are some meat-eating allosaurs, too, waiting to be transported off-site. The fossil records in this prolific square mile of treasure trove could keep a thousand paleontologists happy for a thousand years, according to one such scientist Phil Manning.

“What makes the Morrison so rich in fossils is the ancient environment it reflects. One hundred and fifty million years ago, Wyoming was anything but arid. It was semi-tropical and featured big rivers that meandered across vast plains,” wrote Jonathan Amos for a BBC story that is the most exhaustive reading we’ve ever seen on the Wyoming dinosaur dig.

Areas in starred red have been some of the more prolific spots in Wyoming for dinosaur fossils. (Google Earth)

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