The Discovery

Threats to Site Led to Excavation

In 1998, Dr. Alan Titus was doing fossil inventories in the area and came upon several articulated (joined together) vertebrae and other bone fragments in a sandstone exposure of the Kaiparowits Plateau. They were in the Mud Springs Canyon Wilderness reinventory unit and found the bones along a small ephemeral wash (seasonal or transitory creek) that probably already has carried pieces of the skeleton away from the site. Paleontologists studied it and suspect that it represented a rare fully articulated specimen that could provide information about the hadrosaurs of the Kaiparowits Plateau, perhaps even at the species level. A portion of the specimen is exposed to the surface; it is subject to weathering and to vandalism. In fact, there are indications that someone already has removed some of it.

To protect the specimen and to study it fully, the paleontologists have decided to excavate the bones. This is a very painstaking process that was documented in the field during May 2001. The bones were then taken to the Museum of Northern Arizona where a full investigation is continuing.