Ghost Ranch, New Mexico

In the 1940s, paleontologists from the American Museum of Natural History discovered rich fossil beds in the high desert of northern New Mexico. The area, called Ghost Ranch, would shed new light on how dinosaurs evolved. The 12,000 feet of rock layers preserve the entire age of dinosaurs, beginning when they first appeared on Earth. Today, paleontologists are still discovering valuable fossils in these rocky badlands.

Ghost Ranch, New Mexico
Description: Site of rich fossil beds, particularly from the Triassic Period (220 mya), when dinosaurs first began to appear on Earth
Significance: The most dinosaur fossils of any other site in North America; richest collection of early dinosaur fossils from the Triassic Period.
Exploration: First explored in the 1880s
Number of quarries: Four (Each quarry, for a different layer, has abundant dinosaur material.)

Image credits: courtesy of Giant Screen Films; Sterling Nesbitt: courtesy of AMNH; Sterling Nesbitt: courtesy of AMNH.