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Aztec Ruins

Capulin Mountain

Casa Grande

Chaco Canyon


Craters of the Moon

Devils Tower


El Morro

Fossil Cycad

George Washington Birthplace

Glacier Bay

Gran Quivira



Lewis and Clark Cavern

Montezuma Castle

Muir Woods

Natural Bridges


Petrified Forest


Pipe Spring

Rainbow Bridge

Scotts Bluff

Shoshone Cavern





Yucca House

Glimpses of Our
National Monuments


Taking down the skeleton of a dinosaur.

In no other part of the world has there been found such a deposit of dinosaurian and other prehistoric reptilian skeletons as have been taken from lands embraced in the Dinosaur National Monument in northeastern Utah.

Prof. Earl B. Douglass, of the Carnegie Museum, at Pittsburgh, is credited with the discovery of this most remarkable fossil field in 1909, and from then until 1923 the Carnegie Museum was at work uncovering its fossil remains. The Smithsonian Institution and the University of Utah also have carried on quarrying work, obtaining excellent material.

Perhaps the most remarkable prize secured was the complete skeleton of the largest Brontosaurus known to science— "the Apatosauros Louisae," as it has been christened in honor of Mrs. Andrew Carnegie. It is 100 feet long and 20 feet high and stands in the Hall of Vertebrate Paleontology in Pittsburgh. Probably in life it weighed 20 tons. Compared with such an animal the largest elephant would be as a dog to a horse.

Altogether more than 400,000 pounds of material, including bones and matrix, have been taken from the quarry, and many skeletons, some of which are practically complete, have been secured. There has been very little duplication, with the result that many strange and gigantic animals that inhabited the earth in the dim past have been made known.

It is hoped that the skeleton of a dinosaur may be worked out in relief, protected from the elements and left in position for the enlightenment and entertainment of the general public. One can conceive of no more impressive and instructive project than to permit the visitor to see partly uncovered and protruding from the surface and edges of the strata the skeleton of a monster lying where it was buried millions of years ago in deposits of mud and sand which are now shale or sandstone beneath thousands of feet of other beds from which the mountains and mesas of the region have been carved. Such a project was contemplated in a bill which Congressman Colton, of Utah, introduced in the Sixty-eighth Congress, but which failed of passage.

The quarry is on top of a sharp ridge between two gulches. According to the theory advanced by most scientists who have visited the region many dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals must have floated down some ancient river, from a source unknown and be come embedded in a sand bar. They lay for countless years until they were covered to great depth in the mud and sand. Then came an upheaval which forced the fossil bed to an upright position where it outcrops on the mountain tops.

From the quarry at the top of Dinosaur Peak and from the peaks and ridges near by the view is of much interest to the lover of the picturesque. The rock formations, upended, aggregating about 3 miles in thickness and representing deposits of millions of years, lie open to view, stratum on stratum of various colors and shades. High, rugged hills, deep gulches, sharp ridges, in the distance a picturesque river valley, rolling plains, bad lands, and many other physical features add to the attractions of the scene.

The proclamation creating this monument, which is 80 acres in extent, was dated October 4, 1915.

The Dinosaur Monument is easily reached by private automobile from Jensen, Utah, on the Victory Highway between Denver, Colo., and Salt Lake City. It is only a short side trip of 6 miles to the monument. The town of Vernal is located 12 miles west. The nearest rail approach is Watson, Utah, on the Unitah Railroad, a narrow-gage line connecting at Mack, Colo., with the main line of the Denver & Rio Grande Western. It is 54 miles by auto stage from Watson to Vernal.


Last Modified: Thurs, Oct 19 2000 10:00:00 pm PDT

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