Well Preserved Fossil Provides Link To Wyoming's Wet, Tropical Past

Jul 29, 2016


Wyoming looked pretty different 50 million years ago. It was tropical, with lots of trees and wet, humid conditions. Scientists know this because of the many fossils found from this time period in the Green River Formation in Southwest Wyoming.

Now, new research on one particular fossil is allowing scientists to paint an even more detailed picture of that world. Sterling Nesbitt, an assistant professor of geosciences at Virginia Tech, studied the fossil of calciavis grandei, a relative of modern day ground dwelling birds like ostriches and emus. He told Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard this fossil is unique because of how perfectly preserved both its bones and soft tissues, like feathers and scales, are. 

The fossil now on display at the traveling Dinosaurs Among Us exhibit by the American Museum of Natural History.