Dinosaurs of Garden Park
The Garden Park Fossil Area has produced some of the finest late Jurassic dinosaur
specimens known. This
section deals with the species of dinosaurs that have been found in
the Fossil Area.
dinosaurs are listed alphabetically by type.
(quadripedal plant eaters)
(bipedal plant eaters)
(plated plant eaters)
dinosaurs that were bipedal (walked on their hind legs) with heavy
tails that made up almost half their body length for balance.
The most common thing we find in the field is their teeth,
which are long and slender blades, serrated like steak knives.
These were often damaged while they ate (as they are in most
modern reptiles) and were constantly replaced throughout their life.
The front feet have raptor like claws for grasping prey and
the back feet have sharp claws to hold prey down.
Three specimens were found in the Marsh/Felch Quarry #1 (M/F #1) and
shed teeth have been found in nearly all the quarries and as surface
finds. The best
specimen, from M/F #1, is on display at the National Museum of
Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. It
is 25 feet long, 6 feet tall at the hips, and would have weighed
about 3000 pounds. Another
partial specimen from the Cope Area could have been 30 feet long,
about 8 feet tall at the hips and weighed about 6000 pounds.
(Skull on display)
nearly complete specimen from the M/F #1 is on display at the
National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.
Smaller than the Allosaurus, it is 19 feet long, 5 feet tall
at the hips, and would have weighed about 1000 pounds.
distinctive bones have been found in the Fossil Area.
It is much better known from a partial skeleton found near
Como Bluffs in
. No skull has ever been
found and there is not enough known to create an illustration.
Evidence shows it was a carnivore that was about 5 feet long, 18
inches tall at the hips, and would have weighed about 30 pounds.
bones were found in different localities in the Fossil Area.
It was described from a nearly complete skeleton from
. It was about 20 feet
long, 5 feet tall at the hips, and would have weighed about 500
cf. tanneri (TOR-voh-SAW-rus
Better known from western
, we have one bone from the Fossil Area (On Display).
It was about 30 feet long, 8 ½ feet tall at the hips, and
would have weighed about 5000 pounds.
(quadripedal plant eaters)
Known as Thunder Lizards, sauropods were the largest dinosaurs that
ever walked the earth. They
are characterized by their large bulk, elephant like legs, long
necks and tails, and a head that seems too small for the size of the
body. Their teeth are
blunt and suitable only for feeding on plants.
They were once thought to live in lakes because it was hard
to believe their legs could support their enormous weight.
New study of their bones and trackways show they did live and
feed on land.
from a few bones found near the top of the Morrison Formation in the
Fossil Area. A nearly
complete vertebra shows it to be closely related to Diplodocus.
It is estimated to have been 98 feet long, but would have
weighed only about 30 tons.
Known from only one partial vertebra from the Fossil Area.
The vertebra, if complete, would have been 8½ feet tall,
indicating an animal 150 feet long, 32 feet tall at the hips, and it
would have weighed about 130 tons.
Unfortunately, nothing of this can be confirmed as the
specimen was lost shortly after it was reported.
much smaller, but better known sauropod, it is known from bones in
the M/F #1. It is most
well known from a nearly complete specimen from
. It was about 78 feet
long, about 15 feet tall at the hips, and would have been a bulky
animal weighing about 18 tons.
few bones and a partial skull were found in the M/F #1.
It was first named from a few bones collected near
, but it is best known from a specimen collected in
. It was about 85 feet
long, 23 feet tall at the shoulders, and would have weighed around
soo-PREE-mus), Chamber Lizard
Specimens of this dinosaur were found in the Cope Area.
Like Brachiosaurus, it was taller at the shoulder than
the hip. It had an
estimated length of 60 feet, stood 15 feet tall at the shoulders,
and weighed about 20 tons.
Folded Bearing Beam
Named by Marsh for a few bones collected in M/F #1.
A few years later a complete skull was found in the quarry
which is on display at the National Museum of Natural History,
Smithsonian Institution. Diplodocus,
a very slender dinosaur, grew to 84 feet long, 14 feet tall at the
hips, yet weighed only 11 tons.
delfsi & Haplocanthosaurus priscus
specimens of this dinosaur, except one from
, have been found in the Fossil Area.
No skull for Haplocanthasaurus has ever been found and
it seems to go extinct about the time the Camarasaurs appear.
The delfsi specimen was estimated to be 70 feet long,
14 feet tall at the hips and weighed about 20 tons.
The specimen is on display at the Cleveland Museum of Natural
priscus is smaller at about 45 feet long, 9 feet tall at the
hips, and weighed around 13 tons.
bipedal plant eaters. The
remains of Ornithopods are often found in numbers suggesting they
traveled in small groups or herds.
This may have been a defense against predators as it is with
herding animals today. At
the least sign of threat, the alarm is given and they all scamper in
the same direction. It
is then difficult for a predator to single out one individual for
species unknown), Bent
from a few bones found in the Cope Area. A
single hand and a foot print were found elsewhere in the Fossil
was about 18 feet long, 5 feet tall at the hips, and about 1500
Known from a few bones in the M/F #1 quarry.
It was up to 16 feet long, 4½ feet tall at the hips, and
weighed over 1000 pounds.
Named for Othniel Marsh
from a small partial skeleton (on display), a few isolated adult
bones, and a jaw fragment from M/F #1.
Our display specimen is a juvenile about 6 months old and
therefore quite small. An
adult would be 5 feet long, 18 inches tall at the hip, and weigh
about 300 pounds.
known, this dinosaur was named from a jumbled partial skeleton
collected in the Cope Area in a very hard sandstone block.
Its size is estimated from another dinosaur possibly related
to it at 2 feet long, 7 inches tall at the hips, and about 5 pounds.
(plated plant eaters)
are large creatures with flat plates standing on edge along their
backs with sharp spikes near the end of their tails.
The long skull looks too small for the body.
The teeth are very small and rounded, indicating a diet of
Stegosaurus stenops (STEG-uh-SAW-rus
Garden Park Fossil Area is the first place Stegosaurus was found.
It has yielded the three finest specimens ever found,
including the “Small Stegosaurus” on display here.
Of the other two specimens, one is on display at the National
Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, and the other is
on display at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
It averages 24 feet in length, 7 feet tall at the hips (not
counting the plates), and weighed about 5 tons.
species is known from a partial skeleton found in M/F #1.
Its plates are smaller than stenops and for a time,
the species was shown with 8 spikes instead of the 4 it is now known
it had. It was 22 feet
long, 10 feet tall at the hips (not including the plates), and also
weighed about 5 tons.
walked on 4 legs and ate plants.
They had bone plates that covered much of their body and
tail, and spikes along the side of their body.
They were very rare in the late Jurassic, not becoming common
until the Cretaceous.
is a little known, very early Ankylosaurid.
One bone is known from the Fossil Area, while others have
been collected in the Grand Junction,
The source of
this information is:
Dinosaurs of Marsh and Cope
Jurassic Dinosaurs of Garden Park
the Garden Park Paleontology Society
and available in the
Dinosaur Depot Museum Store.
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