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Utah State Office
Release Date: 12/02/09
Contacts: Scott Foss , 801-539-4272  

Utah's First State Paleontologist, James H. Madsen Passes Away at Age 77

Salt Lake City, Utah—Utah’s first state paleontologist, James H. Madsen passed away on Saturday, Nov. 28, at the age of 77.  Madsen paved the way for paleontologists to come, with his research on carnivorous dinosaurs, such as Allosaurus.

James MadsenMadsen under the direction of Lee Stokes, helped develop the Bureau of Land Management’s Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry in Price, Utah, which was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1967.  Madsen was responsible for overseeing the excavation of the quarry and spent much of his career collecting and preparing dinosaur bones from Cleveland Lloyd. 

The Utah state fossil, Allosaurus, was originally suggested by Jim Madsen. In 1988 a bill was passed by the state legislature making Madsen’s idea official.

“Jim was one of the last living great pioneers of paleontology in the state of Utah, he will truly be missed,” said Scott Foss, Regional Paleontologist for the Bureau of Land Management.

Madsen founded a scholarship at the University of Utah’s Museum of Natural History to support students who researched collections excavated from the Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry. 
James Madsen in 1960“If it wasn’t for James Madsen, there wouldn’t be a Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry,” said James Kirkland Utah State Paleontologist. “A big chunk of my job is to continue what he started.”

“The Bureau of Land Management, Utah would like to thank James Madsen for his dedication, passion and wealth of knowledge,” Foss added. “The Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry is a valuable resource that will continue to provide an enormous amount of scientific data and history that will teach generations for years to come.”

For more information on the Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, please visit:

A memorial service for Jim Madsen, will be held Friday, Dec. 4, at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park, 3401 Highland Drive, Salt Lake City.  Gathering will be at 1:00 p.m. with services commencing at 2:00 p.m.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Utah State Office   440 West 200 South, Suite 500      Salt Lake City, Utah 84145-0155   

Last updated: 03-04-2011