News

    Going Where the Dinosaurs Roamed in the United States

    Experts urge 'Westward Ho!' for finding the best dinosaur treasures

    The Archeopteryx, a flying dinosaur about the size of a modern pigeon, is on display at the Wyoming center
    The Archeopteryx, a flying dinosaur about the size of a modern pigeon, is on display at the Wyoming center

    The gigantic brachiosaurus, the fierce and deadly tyrannosaurus, the fast and nimble velociraptor.

    Millions of years ago, long before humans existed, these creatures - and many others like them -- roamed the earth.   We visited some of the territory where dinosaurs roamed in what is now the United States.

    Morrison Formation, is a group of rock layers that is prime territory for dinosaur fossils.  It is centered in the western U.S. states of Colorado and Wyoming.  We start our search for the dinosaurs of North America at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center.

    Malcom Bedell is a researcher at the center.  His excavation team is digging up what he is pretty certain is a fossilized diplodocus - a large plant-eating dinosaur -- but it is slow and time-consuming work. 

     "We are still in the process of continuing to prove that this is a Diplodocus Carnegiei, basically," he explained. "We haven't found any bones that contradict that yet. Some skeletons with some types of dinosaurs come out in three weeks, some take three years and some never come out completely. This one has been ongoing for 12 years. These bones have been sitting here for more 150,000 centuries. We get one shot at it. If you fail, that's it!"

    The layers upon layers of sedimentary rock can be traced back to the Late Jurassic period, about 150 million years ago, when dinosaurs ruled the earth.  The wealth of fossils buried within the rock provides scientists with important clues and data about the pre-historic environment. 

    Dean Lomax is a student from England. He says if you are interested in dinosaur fossils, the American West is the place to be. "Over here there are so many more fossils to be discovered. Paleontology is a lot bigger in America than in other places. And, there are also pretty big dig sites to work out of here. The dig sites are straight up about 10 minutes away for the museum," he said.

    Since it is located so close to so many fossils, it is no wonder that the Wyoming Dinosaur Center attracts people from all over the world who want to learn more about these creatures.

    The displays at the Wyoming center offer many rare treasures, such as the Archeopteryx, a flying dinosaur about the size of a modern pigeon. 

     "In terms of highlights there is the Archeopteryx, which is the only one here in North America at all. It's probably the most famous fossil worldwide," Scott Hartman, science director of the center said. "Supersaurus is hard to miss. It's the 106-foot-long [35-meter-long] elephant in the room. And certainly when school kids come it's the first thing they want to look at. This specimen here is the second specimen in the world. It's named Jimbo, after the rancher's son who brought it to our attention."

    To maintain the high quality of the displays, the museum's lab is hard at work seven days a week restoring the fossils.  William Wahl is a researcher at the center.  He is preparing a Camarasaurus for exhibition.  It requires a lot of preparation.  The plant-eating Camarasaurus weighed almost 20 tons.

     "This is the distal conyle  of a femur that we were working (examining) for a (much) larger Camarasaurus speciment.  What is interesting about this is that as we were prepping on this, we end up noticing there are a series of very parallel marks across the surface. Those are bite marks from whatever may be not necessarily the predators that killed this animal, but definitely something that was feeding on it," Wahl said.

    The Wyoming Dinosaur Center has over 200 displays, and once the Camarasaurus bone is cleaned up and restored, it will most likely be shown to the public. 

    With more than 20 full-size dinosaurs in the center's main hall, it is not surprising that 40,000 visitors a year come to the center to see these creatures who roamed the earth millions of years ago.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora