Historic Fossil Finds Now on View main content.

Historic Fossil Finds Now on View

by AMNH on

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The Titanosaur has new company in the Wallach Orientation Center on the fourth floor. On a wall opposite the popular sauropod, a striking selection of dinosaur fossils has been installed, including elements of the very first dinosaur fossil ever collected by the Museum.


Panoramic view of several shelves and cases containing fossils of a variety of sizes, with attendant signs and digital displays.
Some of the Museum’s most impressive sauropod fossils are on display in the Wallach Orientation Center.
© AMNH/D. Finnin

That early fossil find—an incomplete skeleton of the long-necked, plant-eating dinosaur Diplodocus longus—was unearthed by legendary Museum dinosaur hunter Barnum Brown along with Henry Fairfield Osborn in 1897 at Como Bluff, Wyoming. Joining the pelvis and femur of this distinguished Diplodocus are a neck and skull from a juvenile Kaatedocus siberi and fossil vertebrae representing several different sauropod species from the late Jurassic Period, about 150 million years ago.

The new display replaces five titanosaur fossils that were among 84 bones discovered in Patagonia, Argentina, upon which the Museum’s The Titanosaur‘s 122-foot-long cast is based.

In addition to the newly displayed fossils, a slideshow presents photographs from Museum expeditions from the 1890s to the present day, spanning field sites from the American West to the Gobi Desert in Mongolia.


Barnum Brown wears a hat, holds a pick-axe, and kneels next to large fossilized bones; Henry Osborn, hat in hand, sits nearby.
Barnum Brown and Henry Fairfield Osborn sit beside a partially excavated Diplodocus bone at Como Bluff, Wyoming in 1897.
© AMNH Library 17808

When he came upon the Diplodocus longus skeleton, Brown, then 24, was at the start of his career and on an expedition in search of ancient mammals, but his discovery launched the Museum’s dinosaur collection. Since then, the Museum has sent paleontologists to every continent in search of traces of ancient life, continuing to build this invaluable fossil library. 

You can also get a look at the new display from the comfort of home. Just check out the video below for a short tour led by Mark Norell, Macaulay Curator of Paleontology at the Museum. 



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