Fossils of the large dromaeosaurid Utahraptor (U. ostrummaysorum) were put on display as legislators and campaigners lobbied for the creation of a state park named after the iconic theropod dinosaur.

Utahraptor dinosaur model
Legislators have proposed a new state park in Utah which would conserve and protect the famous Dalton Wells quarry (Yellow Cat Member of the Cedar Mountain Formation), which has yielded numerous important dinosaur fossils including the first fossils of the giant dromaeosaurid Utahraptor (U. ostrummaysorum).

A New State Park for Grand County, Utah

A bill has been proposed that would create the Utahraptor State Park, if passed this would be the 45th such park designated within the “Beehive State”. The park would cover an area of Grand County in eastern Utah, close to the town of Moab and it would include the Dalton Wells Quarry where the first fossils of the giant raptor Utahraptor were discovered.

As well as providing camp sites and trails the park would protect and preserve the Dalton Wells Quarry site. Although the park’s current plans do not include provision for a museum, it has been suggested that if funding could be found, then a small museum documenting the extensive Lower Cretaceous strata that are exposed in this area and their contribution to palaeontology could be constructed.

It has been speculated that a 1:1 scale replica of the skeleton of a Utahraptor could be erected within the park’s boundary.

The fossilised remains of a Utahraptor jaw (slab and counter slab)
Slab and counter slab of a Utahraptor jaw (dentary). This fossil was collected from the Arches National Park, the proposed Utahraptor State Park will border it. Picture credit: James Kirkland/St George News.

The proposals involve the conversion of approximately 6,500 acres (2,630 hectares), into a park. Responsibility for conservation would be undertaken by either Utah’s Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands or the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration.

Rebor Wind Hunter (Utahraptor model).
A replica of the fearsome Early Cretaceous predator Utahraptor. The model is “Wind Hunter” the Rebor Utahraptor replica which has been out of production for some time.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:

“We do appreciate how tight budgets are right now, but if the funding could be found to establish this new park and to protect the famous Dalton Wells location, that would be fabulous. So much of the world’s open spaces and important scientific sites are under threat it would be wonderful to see this exceptionally important fossil site protected.”

Share This!Pin on Pinterest0Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0