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The Arthur Ross Terrace will be closed this morning, Tuesday, October 21, for a private cultural observance. You many observe smoke and/or fire coming from the Terrace at that time. The FDNY has been notified in advance, and all safety precautions are in place. The Terrace will reopen at 1 pm.

Digging Up Sauropods

To figure out how sauropods moved, breathed or ate, paleontologists need fossils. For example, we know a great deal about Mamenchisaurus because of fossils uncovered in China. Fossil expeditions around the world have uncovered the remains of hundreds of sauropod species. Large numbers of sauropod fossils have been found in Wyoming, in the western U.S., at a site called Howe Quarry.

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Hunting for Fossils

In 1934, an expedition from the American Museum of Natural History set out for Wyoming to hunt for dinosaur fossils. The team included famous paleontologist Barnum Brown, who discovered the first Tyrannosaurus rex. Another member of the party was Roland Bird, who had no formal education in paleontology, but was experienced in fossil excavation.

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Dig "A Dinosaur Treasure Trove"
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In six months of digging, the 1934 crew found around 4,000 dinosaur fossils in an area about 45 by 65 feet (14 by 20 meters). Team leader and American Museum of Natural History paleontologist Barnum Brown, commented that the site was "an absolute, knockout dinosaur treasure trove!"

Legs, Teeth, Ribs and More

Among the thousands of fossils found at Howe Quarry were leg bones, teeth, ribs, vertebrae (neck, back and tail bones) and many others. They all dated back about 155 million years and many were from the sauropod Diplodocus. Teeth from theropod dinosaurs, which ate meat and walked on two legs, were also uncovered.

Identify
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Team member Roland Bird drew this large-scale diagram of exactly where fossils from at least 25 dinosaurs were found at the site. How many can you find?

VERTEBRA
The team found more than 1,000 vertebrae on site--more than any other type of bone.

THIGH BONE

There are 15 thigh bones shown here--some of them more than three feet (one meter) long.

RIBS

Each of the 25 sauropods preserved at Howe Quarry had at least 20 ribs.
TEETH

Sauropod teeth were often no more than a few inches long. The team did find teeth, but they can't be seen at this scale.

SKULL

Complete fossil skulls are rare, but the team found one partial skull at the end of a long neck.

American Museum of Natural History

Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024-5192
Phone: 212-769-5100

Open daily from 10 am - 5:45 pm
except on Thanksgiving and Christmas
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