Scientists will dig a promising Jurassic site in Wyoming this summer

Olivia Alvord

 

Near Cheyenne, Wyo. lays a site that some are calling the “Jurassic Mile,” for it being “where dinosaurs chased prey through muck and some of the biggest creatures of 150 million years ago lumbered over a tropical flood plain,” as said by Mead Grover for KULR8, a news channel based out of Billings, Mont.

This summer’s project has been spearheaded by the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis which is bringing in numerous scientists and paleontologists from the United States and Europe. This dig is a $27 million project. $9 million of that has been donated by the Lilly Endowment grant to help build the museum’s collection. Scientists and paleontologists will be in Northern Wyoming, near the Bighorn Basin, for a three-month dig this summer. The local news channels and media do not want to give details on where the site is because the owners and organizers do not want too many curiosity seekers trying to find the ranch while they excavate. However, the site has been described as being located “on a square mile of private ranchland outside Cody, about 100 miles east of Yellowstone National Park,” said KULR8.

I went to this exact site in 2013 when my family and I went on a road trip to visit my aunt and uncle who live in Wyoming. My aunt knew the people who had just discovered some fossils on the acreage of their property. Little did they know that it would turn out to be the exact place where some of the biggest dinosaurs once roamed, or that this would turn into an enormous dig operation where they would still be pulling out complete and partial skeletons just a few years down the road. At that time in 2013, a few paleontologists had just begun to discover the land’s potential and already had various remains. When my family and I were there, the paleontologists were almost finished with what turned out to be the first of many of the biggest dinosaurs from the late Jurassic Period found. There were two paleontologists when we visited, and they showed us many fossils that they had just dug up. For some of the fossils that we looked at, you could tell just exactly which body part it was, while others still needed to be chipped away some. They also discovered an almost full-bodied dinosaur a week before we arrived in 2013. Who knew that this would be the start of it all? They told us at the time that the site had potential, but they were not sure just how many and to what extent of remains were there. It has been six years since my visit, and it appears that they have come a long way since then.

Since 2013, various long-necked plant-eater fossils, which may very well be diplodocus- and brachiosaurus-type dinosaurs, were found on this site. In 2018, “scientists dug up a 6-foot brachiosaur scapula. They also had preserved tracks from both predatory and prey dinosaurs,” stated KULR8.

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