Dinosaur Ridge near Morrison, CO
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Outspoken1
N 39° 40.859 W 105° 11.538
13S E 483509 N 4392368
Quick Description: Dinosaur Ridge is part of the Morrison Fossil Area National Natural Landmark. Per State Law, NOTHING may be removed from this site.
Location: Colorado, United States
Date Posted: 9/7/2007 5:27:19 PM
Waymark Code: WM25CA
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Miles ToGeo
Views: 151

Long Description:

"The Dinosaur Ridge area is one of the world's most famous dinosaur fossil localities. Here, in 1877, some of the best-known dinosaurs were first discovered. These include Apatosaurus, better known as Brontosaurus; Diplodocus; Stegosaurus, the Colorado State Fossil; and Allosaurus. These animals represented life 145 million years ago in the Late Jurassic Epoch, also known as the "Age of Brontosaurs."

These discoveries sparked off a historic dinosaur "gold rush" that traced the bone-bearing strata, known as the Morrison Formation, across a large part of the Rocky Mountain region. This "Golden Age" of 19th century dinosaur exploration led to the discovery of many other important sites. The dozens of successful excavations at Dinosaur Ridge and these other locations stocked many of the world's museums and brought dinosaurs to public attention.

In the 1930s, during the construction of West Alameda Parkway, dinosaur tracks were discovered on the east side of Dinosaur Ridge in the 100-million year-old rocks of the Dakota Group, representing the Cretaceous Period. The tracks are those of Iguanodon-like plant-eating - or herbivorous - dinosaurs and ostrich-sized meat-eating - or carnivorous - dinosaurs. Recent research has revealed that these tracks represent only a small part of the extensive track-bearing beds that can be traced along the Colorado Front Range. Because this strata represents the shoreline sediments of an ancient seaway that was frequently trampled by dinosaurs, these beds have been called the "Dinosaur Freeway."

The occurrence of the historic excavation sites in proximity to the Dinosaur Freeway represents a unique combination of paleontologic resources on Dinosaur Ridge. The Ridge is also where the Rocky Mountains meet the High Plains. This area has been used by several generations of earth science and life science teachers as an outdoor geology and ecology laboratory for students of all ages.

In 1973, the area was recognized for its uniqueness as well as its historical and scientific significance when it, and one of the historic dinosaur bone quarries near the nearby town of Morrison, CO, was designated the Morrison Fossil Area National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service.

The 1980s were the 20th century's "Golden Age" of dinosaur exploration. Significant progress was made in researching and managing Colorado's dinosaur resources. In 1989, the Friends of Dinosaur Ridge formed to address increasing concerns regarding the preservation of the site and to offer educational programming on the area's resources. Today, Dinosaur Ridge is a destination for over 70,000 dinosaur enthusiasts, students of all ages, and nature aficionados each year." (copied from Dinosaur Ridge website)

The Dinosaur Visitor Center is at 16831 W Alameda Pkwy. Hours for May-October are Mon-Sat 9-5; Sun 11-5; November-April are Mon-Sat 9-4; Sun 11-4. There is no charge to visit this landmark and there is a very complete self-guided tour. During the summer there may be rattlesnakes in the area. Guided tours may be arranged by calling 303-697-3466. Fossils are a non-renewable resource that we protect for future generations. State and Federal laws prohibit collecting any fossils or rocks on Dinosaur Ridge.

Group or Groups Responsible for Placement:
National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior


County or City: Denver

Date Dedicated: 1973

Check here for Web link(s) for additional information: [Web Link]

Visit Instructions:
In your log, please say if you learned something new or if you were able to take any extra time to explore the area once you stopped at the historic marker waymark. If possible, please post a photo of you at the marker OR your GPS at the marker location OR some other creative way to prove you visited. If you know of any additional links not already mentioned about this bit of Colorado history, go ahead and include that in your log!
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