fossils

Gabriel Ugueto

At 106 feet long, Jimbo the Supersaurus stretches all the way from one end to the other of the Wyoming Dinosaur Center's main exhibit hall. He's one of the largest and most complete dinosaurs ever discovered. But in 2001, when paleontologists were excavating his massive bones from a quarry in Douglas, Wyoming, they came across something else.

Lawrence Todd

Archaeologists are in a race against time to document some artifacts found in the Mountain West.

Ellen Currano

University of Wyoming researchers are "going back to the future." By studying the climate that existed 50 million years ago, they hope to better understand what the climate might be like in the next century.

The Modern West 49: Archaeology And Fossils, Part 1

Jun 5, 2019
COURTESY OF DENVER MUSEUM OF NATURE & SCIENCE

How archaeologists are trying to track down the remaining pieces of a mammoth found in Wyoming.

Paleontologists have found a new species of tyrannosaur based on fossils in Emery County, Utah.

Lindsay Zanno found the fossilized leg bone sticking out of a grey hill in a part of Utah where landmarks get names like "Cliffs of Insanity" and "Suicide Hill."

If you own mineral rights to a piece of private property and an important dinosaur fossil is discovered there, do you own the fossil? A federal district court just ruled you do. 

A paper published this week reports that a recent fossil discovery in Central Utah is changing what researchers know about the emergence of large flowering trees both here in the Mountain West, and around the world.

Matt Celeskey

This summer two professors excavated the fossilized remains of a Phytosaur on the Wind River Indian Reservation without explicit permission from the Northern Arapaho or Eastern Shoshone tribes. 

Wyoming Geological Survey

A rare mammal fossil found near Kemmerer will be displayed publicly for the first time since it was found in 2016.

Todd A. Surovell

University of Wyoming anthropologists are putting out a call out for help looking for a lost mammoth. How do you lose a six-ton extinct animal that lived 13,000 years ago? Well, you find a few of its bones but lose track over the decades of exactly where they were found. But now some clues have come to the surface. Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards sat down with the University of Wyoming anthropology professor Todd Surovell, the detective trying to put all the clues together. 

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is nothing fancy when you first drive in. No towering cliffs or dramatic canyons. It’s a calm, sunny valley – 6,000 acres all totaled -- of meadow and ponderosa pine forest.

The fossil skeleton of a carnivorous dinosaur recently found in Wyoming was just auctioned off in Paris. Paleontologists are worried the sale is part of a trend that will keep specimens from our region out of the hands of scientists.

An article published in the journal, Nature, this month explains how a 130 million year old fossilized skull is shaking up scientists’ understanding of how and when the earth’s continents broke apart.

The skull was from a small fur-covered, egg-laying mammal that co-existed with the dinosaurs called the Cifelliodon wakarmoosuch.

Wyoming State Geological Survey

On a bright, cloudless day in southwest Wyoming, Rick Hebdon, a commercial fossil collector, drove over a steep dirt road to one of his quarries within the Green River Formation. He’s been uncovering fossils for most of his life, but it still holds a thrill for him.

Eric Kilby via Flicker with Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The largest fossil of a mammal ever found in the Green River formation is getting ready for further research. The ancient fossil was found damaged and in several parts back in 2016 in the 50-million-year old formation.

It’s been identified as in the tapiromorph family. The actual species is still debated, though a Duke University paleontologist identified it as a Heptodon calciculus. 

Adelphi University

In the world of Paleontology, there’s debate whether or not dinosaurs were warm or cold blooded, and just how quickly they grew up. Dr. Michael D’Emic is a Paleontologist at Adelphi University in New York. He spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Maggie Mullen in anticipation of a talk he will give on the University of Wyoming’s campus about his research and some of the contentious debates surrounding dinosaurs.

Dr. D’Emic’s talk is February 6 at 5:30 p.m. on the University of Wyoming’s Campus in room 216 of the S.H. Knight Geology Building.

University of Wyoming Geological Museum

The University of Wyoming Geological Museum and Coe Library are teaming up to digitize more than 5,000 specimens from the museum’s rare fossil mammal collection. The project was made possible by a $100,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Maggie Mullen

Thousands of years ago in northern Wyoming, countless animals fell to their death at the bottom of an 85-foot cave. Natural Trap Cave has long been closed to recreation, but scientists have spent the last four summers unearthing the remains of many now-extinct animals. Excavations will soon come to an end.

 

Rick Edwards (AMNH)

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.

Ana M. Balcarcel

When you think of a Jesus lizard you probably think of the rainforest creature: green crested with big floppy feet zipping across the surface of water.

Now, a new skull fossil shows that a very close relative of that lizard lived in Wyoming 50 million years ago. Anatomy professor Jack Conrad from the New York Institute of Technology just released a paper on the discovery. 

Chris Amerman

A paleontology field school in the Bighorn Basin found an incredibly well-preserved fossil of an ancient anteater-like mammal this summer. The fossil is a Palaeanodon, a ground-dwelling insect eater the size of a cat that lived about 53-million years ago. Colorado State University Field School Instructor Kim Nichols discovered the skeleton and says the fossil is a very rare find because so much of the animal’s skeleton was found. Such small creatures are hardly ever discovered intact.  Its excellent condition is also unusual, Nichols says.

B. Smith via Flickr Creative Commons

For the first time in decades, scientists are excavating fossils from an 80-foot-deep cave in North Central Wyoming.

The cave is called “Natural Trap Cave,” because it’s become the final resting place for countless animals in past centuries—including many now-extinct ones like mammoths, short-faced bears, and American lions.

Julie Meachen is a paleontologist at Des Moines University. She’ll rappel into the cave with a team of 15 others.

The geology museum at the University of Wyoming recently re-opened after a long remodel. One of the features unveiled is a new fossil preparation lab. This lab offers U-W students, museum visitors, and the community a variety of opportunities to learn more about fossil prep. Wyoming Public Radio’s Chelsea Biondolillo has more.

Irina Zhorov

Wyoming was once wet, balmy, and full of creatures like dinosaurs. Today, their fossils are slowly weathering out of the ground. If the bones happen to be on public land, researchers are granted permits to dig for them and the fossils have to end up in a public repository. But on private land, anyone can dig and they can do whatever they want with the specimens. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that commercial, or independent collectors, are sometimes eyed warily.

Irina Zhorov

HOST: Wyoming was once wet, balmy, and full of creatures like dinosaurs. Today, their fossils are slowly weathering out of the ground. If the bones happen to be on public land, researchers are granted permits to dig for them and the fossils have to end up in a public repository. But on private land, anyone can dig and they can do whatever they want with the specimens. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that commercial, or independent collectors, are sometimes eyed warily.