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National Fossil Day 2012

In the Spotlight: 

Tule Springs Fossil Site, Las Vegas Field Office

Featured Podcast:

Moccasin Mountain Dinosaur Tracksite

Trilobite Fossil

National Fossil Day- NPS Home Page


BLM's National Fossil Day Activities


Fossil Education and Information


On October 17, 2012, as part of Earth Science Week , the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is celebrating the third annual National Fossil Day . National Fossil Day is a celebration organized to promote public awareness and stewardship of fossils, as well as to foster a greater appreciation of their scientific and educational value. Fossils discovered on the nation's public lands preserve ancient life from all major eras of Earth's history, and from every major group of animal or plant. Learn more >>>

Paleontological resources are any fossilized remains, traces, or imprints of organisms, preserved in or on the earth's crust, that are of paleontological interest and that provide information about the history of life on earth. (16 U.S.C. 470aaa)

Through the careful collection and study of fossils, we can learn the stories of life, death, and change played out over 3.5 billion years of the Earth’s history. Scientists get clues about life on Earth from some of the tiniest fossils left by ancient bacteria to fossils of some of the largest creatures that ever roamed the Earth over 65 million years ago. These clues help us solve the fascinating riddles of how life on Earth evolved.

Learn more about famous localities and exciting discoveries found on BLM-administered lands below.  

  • BLM's first visitor center at the Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry in Price, Utah. Learn more>>>
  • The oldest fossil beaver found in North America found in Oregon.  Learn more>>>
  • Over 100 new species of dinosaurs and other species found in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah.  Learn more>>>
  • One of the most intensively documented dinosaur tracksites in the world located in northern Wyoming; the Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite. Learn more>>>  
  • Dinosaurs in Alaska. Learn more>>>
  • Learn about paleontology in Utah here>>> and in New Mexico here>>>

Many fossils can be found on public lands managed by the BLM and other federal agencies. Many of the vertebrate fossils in America's public museums came from these lands. These fossils are national treasures to be preserved and protected for all Americans. Learn more >>>


BLM National Fossil Day Banner

BLM National Fossil Day Activities


BLM's Royal Gorge Field Office. 

Beginning Oct. 14, the public is invited to join the Bureau of Land Management in enjoying National Fossil Day during a week-long celebration of fossils and their scientific and educational importance. The BLM is partnering with the Dinosaur Depot Museum, Fremont County Heritage Commission, Royal Gorge Regional History Center and Museum, and the Price Pioneer Museum to provide a series of community events in Cañon City and Florence, CO. Local geologists, paleontologists, historians, and scientists will host National Fossil Day activities Sunday, Oct.14 through Sunday, Oct. 21.

See the news release and a complete agenda of events here>>>

Partners and volunteers at National Fossil Day 2011 at the Dinosaur Depot Museun, Canon City, Colorado.

Learn more about paleontological resources in the Royal Gorge Field Office: 


For information about the paleontology of the Garden Park Fossil Area, see the BLM's paleontology podcasts at: http://www.youtube.com/user/BLMCOLORADO#p/u/0/qv0PikpoSOM  



BLM's Lewiston Field Office will host a presentation by Kristina Curry Rogers, vertebrate paleontologist, Macalester College, St. Paul, MN, on the history of paleontology in the Missouri River Breaks and highlight the changing views of dinosaurs over the last 100 years. Dr. Curry Rogers has been working with the BLM on nominating Ferdinand Hayden’s fossil discovery site into the National Register of Historic Places. Hayden collected the first bones and teeth of dinosaurs known to be from North America, as well as an abundance of fossil fish, turtles, and reptiles near the mouth of the Judith River. Hayden’s discoveries were pivotal in the history of North American paleontology although they have been historically overlooked. Learn more here about the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument .


BLM's Montana State Office will be hosting a series of guest lectures in partnership with Rocky Mountain College and other local colleges and universities that provide information on Montana’s public lands and fossil resources, BLM’s role in managing the resources, and the contribution of those resources to our deeper understanding of life of the past. The series will consist of two or more programs to be held in the fall in celebration of National Fossil Day.

See the news release and a complete agenda of events here>>>



Visitors to the interpretive center at BLM's Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, and to the Nevada State Museum in the Springs Preserve, will be treated to exciting new exhibits revealing rare fossils from the Ice Ages, as well as details about the science underlying the discoveries. A kiosk interpreting the fossils of the Upper Las Vegas Wash was installed at the Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas, and one at the Red Rock Canyon NCA Visitors Center in time for celebrating National Fossil Day. The BLM and the San Bernadina County Museum will be celebrating the 50th anniversary “Big Dig” weekend, November 2nd thru 4th.   

Tule Springs Ice Age Exhibit


On October 10, 2012, Dr. Josh Bonde from UNLV’s Geoscience Department gave a presentation at the Red Rock Canyon NCA on new dinosaur and other fossil discoveries in Nevada. Prior to the early 2000's, Nevada’s dinosaurs were only discovered in a few sites in the northeastern part of the state. See the news release here>>>

BLM's Winnemucca District Office will be presenting a series of in-class presentations to 4th graders on paleontology in Nevada for National Fossil Day.



BLM's Farmington Field Office is planning a field trip for the public into the BLM Fossil Forest south of Farmington on Saturday, October 13, 2012. Only 15 people will be able to participate in the field trip. Learn more here>>>



A brown Bag Luncheon and presentation was given at the BLM's Prineville District Office by Joshua X. Samuels, Museum Curator and Chief of Paleontology at the NPS's John Day Fossil Beds National Monument on October 10, 2012. The John Day Basin of Oregon has an amazingly rich fossil record which has been studied for nearly 150 years. A sequence of geologic formations preserved in this region includes hundreds of fossil localities with hundreds of plant and animal species spanning nearly 50 million years of time. Some of these sites are protected within the National Park Service's John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, but many more are found on BLM lands across the state. Recent collaborative work by NPS paleontologists, BLM staff, and researchers from the University of Oregon are helping reveal new and exciting information on Oregon’s history. This work has uncovered many records of animals not previously known from Oregon, including the earliest modern beaver and one of the earliest cats in North America. There are also several new species that are currently being described, including a tiny squirrel and an early mouse.



BLM's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is featuring an open house in the paleontology lab on Thursday, October 18th and excavation tours of two close together hadrosaur sites on October 19th. BLM is currently prepping the two hadrosaur sites, which show some pretty neat skin fossils for the tour. Learn more here>>>

Associated with this year’s National Fossil Day (October 17, 2012) and Earth Sciences Week (October 14-20, 2012), BLM’s Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry is releasing a Junior Explorer Booklet. A pdf of this booklet and a virtual tour are available on the CLDQ website at http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/price/recreation/quarry.html.

Our Featured Podcast is about the dinosaur trackways at Moccasin Mountain in southwestern Utah in the Kanab Field Office. 185 million-year-old tracks from at least six different types of animals are well preserved in slick rock outcrops of the Navajo Sandstone in an area about the size of a football field. Learn more about the Moccasin Mountain Tracksite here>>> .

Check here>>> for a brand new BLM Utah Paleontology Web Page being rolled out for National Fossil Day during Earth Science Week.



J.D. (Sam) Drucker, BLM's Pinedale Field Office, will give a presentation about paleontological resources on BLM public lands at the Big Piney High School for National Fossil Day. The Pinedale area contains several geologic formations that contain significant fossil resources including the Jurassic Morrison, the Upper Cretaceous Niobrara, and Eocene Green River Formations.

BLM Wyoming will be featuring the famous Wyoming dinosaur site, Como Bluff, on the BLM WY Facebook page on National Fossil Day. Visit http://www.facebook.com/BLMWyoming to find out more about the history and paleontological resources of one of the most infamous "bone wars" localities near Medicine Bow, WY.

The BLM Regional Paleontologist in the Wyoming State Office, Brent Breithaupt, will be featured in a Paleontology Podcast on the Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite in the BLM's Worland Field Office. The podcast was produced by the BLM's National Operations Center to celebrate National Fossil Day and should be available soon at the BLM Wyoming web page at http://www.blm.gov/wy.



National Fossil Day 2012 on the National Mall
October 17, 2012 10 am - 2 pm
National Mall between 7th and 14th Sts., in front of Smithsonian NMNH
The third annual National Fossil Day event on the National Mall in Washington, DC will feature presentations and activities by paleontologists and park rangers from across the US. Join the National Park Service, the Smithsonian Institution, the Bureau of Land Management, and other agencies for a mock fossil dig, explorations of prehistoric life, and a special presentation on the history of bison in North America. Join us from 10am - 2pm in front of the Smithsonian NMNH as we celebrate the diversity and history of life on Earth.


Learn more about National Fossil Day events around the country here>>> 


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Last updated: 10-13-2012