Dinosaur National Monument
Interested in dinosaurs? The Dinosaur National Monument in northwestern Colorado features more than 800 paleontological sites, and includes allosaurus, stegosaurus, and diplodocus fossils.
- Paleontologist Earl Douglas first found fossils in the area in 1909 and shipped them to Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pennsylvania.
- Woodrow Wilson declared the area a national monument in 1915.
- The monument covers more than 210,000 acres of land. Visitors come to see the fossils, including more than 1,500 fossils at Dinosaur Quarry Exhibit Hall.
- Visitors can also view pictographs and petroglyphs, cliff drawings and carvings. This art was made by the Fremont people who lived in the area from 1 A.D. to 1300 A.D.
- These people lived in small groups and hunted, gathered plants and herbs, and grew corn, beans, and squash.
- The cliff art features animals, people, and abstract symbols. Researchers aren’t sure if they had religious or cultural significance. Maybe they were simply the outpouring of the artist’s imagination. The art depicts people with headdresses, shields, and earrings and animals like bighorn sheep, birds, and snakes.
- During the 1950s, several government groups wanted to build a huge dam project in the area, which would have destroyed much of the natural beauty, archaeological and paleontological artifacts, and ecosystems. Opposition from two conservation groups was intense and the groups eventually won their battle. Their efforts were important in protecting other national parks and monuments from development.
- The area was designated an International Dark Sky Park in 2019.
- Paleontologist: someone who studies dinosaurs
- Conservation: preserving and conserving natural resources
Questions and Answers
Question: What is a dark sky park?
Answer: An area valued and protected for its views of the stars.
Visit the official website for Dinosaur National Monument.