Paleontological Resources

Teratophoneus at the Capital

The BLM manages paleontological resources on public lands using scientific principles and expertise. Scientific and paleontological research on BLM-managed lands have led to discoveries of new types of organisms and have also brought us important revelations about the history of ecosystem diversity and climate change. The BLM paleontology program works to preserve and protect paleontological resources for the benefit of current and future generations; assess for the presence and significance of paleontological resources prior to making land use decisions; facilitate insightful research into the geology and paleobiomes that preserve extinct organisms; and produce programs that increase the public’s awareness and appreciation of paleontological resources.

The skeletal remains of a Pentaceratops is prepared for airlift from the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness Area. The BLM partnered with the National Guard to transport the fossils to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.
In 2015, the BLM partnered with the New Mexico National Guard and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science to airlift the skeletal remains of an adult and a baby Pentaceratops out of the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness and Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness Study Area.

View part of the airlift on BLM New Mexico's Youtube channel.

Go to My Public Lands Tumblr to learn more about Pentaceratops Ops.

Paleontological Resources Preservation Act

A proposed Department of Interior regulation has been released to guide implementation of the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act of 2009 (PRPA). The proposed regulation provides standards for a coordinated approach to the management of valuable paleontological resources on the public lands managed by the BLM. The regulation clarifies how the BLM will manage paleontological resources on public lands to ensure they are available for current and future generations to enjoy as part of America’s national heritage.  The proposed regulation 1093-AA16 is available at the Federal Register.

PRPA applies to land managed by the BLM, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Fish & Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and the USDA Forest Service.  All of these bureaus, except for the Forest Service, are part of the Department of Interior. The proposed regulation applies to bureaus under the Department of Interior. The Forest Service, as part of the Department of Agriculture, undertook their rulemaking process separately. Read the Forest Service rule and the BLM fact sheet.

View partner paleontology websites through the links below.