Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Dinosaur Exhibits Now on Display

By David Hercher, Paria River District, Utah

After many years of preparation by volunteers in BLM’s Paleo lab in Kanab, Utah, Paleontologists Dr. Alan Titus and Katja Knoll delivered two new dinosaur exhibits, a ceratopsian and a juvenile hadrosaur, to the Powell Museum & Archives on Aug. 10, 2023. The museum is located in Page, Arizona, and is managed by the Glen Canyon Conservancy, the official cooperating partner of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

The fossils were both discovered in 2009 in the Kaiparowits Plateau region of the monument, excavated and later transported to the lab in Kanab. It took nearly four years to prepare both fossils for display.  

Dr. Titus, BLM Utah Paria River District Paleontologist, and Dr. Scott Sampson, who is popularly known as "Dr. Scott the Paleontologist" from the PBS show Dinosaur Train, discovered the baby hadrosaur. Around the same period, the ceratopsian fossil was uncovered in partnership with the Natural History Museum of Utah

From field to museum, the process can take many, many years; it’s a systematic sequence of events that includes excavation, collection, preparation, research, and in some cases exhibition of the fossils.  

“It is very satisfying for me to see these fossils put on display and to share the story of their scientific significance for the public to appreciate,” said Dr. Titus. “In this case, the ceratopsian shows injuries on its ribs that probably resulted from intra-species roughhousing, so it gives us important insight into these animals’ behavior. The baby hadrosaur preserves delicate details of soft tissue, such as skin and muscles, providing important information about these animals’ anatomy.”

JWP Memorial Museum 8-21-23 display poster part 1


Poster of fossils in the lab and being mounted at Powell Museum & Archives.

David Hercher, Paria River District, BLM Utah