Sunday, April 26, 2015

Tracking dinosaurs in Utah

A dinosaur track
More than 200 million years ago, dinosaurs ruled the earth.  They came in all shapes and sizes; big feet, little feet, huge feet. Then they became extinct, but not forgotten. Bones are found throughout the world, including the American West.

One place they turned up unexpectedly was St. George, Utah, when a local optometrist, Dr. Sheldon Johnson, was leveling ground to develop his property. A dinosaur track turned up while he was operating excavation equipment one day in 2000.

A dinosaur foot
Paleontologists and volunteers headed to the Johnson farm to work on track recovery. Before they were finished, thousands of tracks and other fossils were to be uncovered.

Some of those tracks can be seen today at the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm.

At one time, the Johnson farm was covered by Dixie Lake, a prehistoric lake from the early Jurassic period. Dinosaur swim tracks also turned up and are on display at the museum. Work is continuing on restoring the finds; visitors can watch technicians work on the specimens through a large glass window into the laboratory.

The Dinosaur Tracks museum is very kid=friendly. There’s an education room where tools used by paleontologists are displayed. The room also contains wooden jigsaw puzzles of dinosaurs, and a special coloring area for kids to work with dinosaur outlines. Almost all of the tracks on display in the museum are marked “do not touch,” but a few say, “It’s OK to touch.”
 a dinosaur bone

Outside, there’s a large sandbox with sand pails and shovels that kids can use to turn up dinosaur “tracks”. A waist-level sandbox has brushes for people to clear away the sand as they search for “bones.”

Dinosaur Tracks is located at 2180 E. Riverside Drive. The museum is closed Sundays and holidays during the winter. It is open seven days a week, including holidays in the summer. Admission is charged.

No comments:

Post a Comment