Happy 70th, Coelophysis!

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Seventy years ago today, Museum paleontologists led by Edwin Colbert working at New Mexico’s Ghost Ranch site turned up an amazing find—a bone bed containing numerous stunningly preserved specimens of Coelophysis bauri.


An excited telegram from the Museum's team in the field at Ghost Ranch to the Paleontology Department on June 30, 1947. 


At about 8-feet-long and running on two feet, one of these predators would have looked like a miniature T. rex.


Artist's rendering of a living Coelophysis bauri.

Courtesy of National Park Service/J. Martz

If you’re visiting the Museum, you can come to the Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs to see the “death assemblage” of Coelophsyis fossils. You can also get a feel for the specimen in the 81st Street subway station that serves the Museum—the Coelophysis assemblage is one of the fossils replicated in bronze along the station’s walls.


Coelophysis Cast

The bronze cast of Coelophysis bauri in the 81st Street subway station.

© AMNH/M. Shanley

And if you can’t visit, don’t worry. You can still learn all about Coelophysis and the many other fossils that have been discovered at Ghost Ranch courtesy of the Museum’s web series, Shelf Life.