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2005 Update:

New Discoveries and a New Home for the Monument's Duckbill

Since the "Share the Adventure: Discovering Dinosaurs" BLM satellite broadcast in October 2001, there have been significant developments in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument area. The first was the reclassification of the bones as those of different dinosaur. The second was the opening of a new visitor center with an extensive dinosaur exhibit. New discoveries continue to be made within the Monument.

After their collection in 2001, the Monument's hadrosaur (duckbilled dinosaur) bones first went to the Museum of Northern Arizona paleontology lab for safekeeping, and were subsequently moved to the BLM lab in Kanab, Utah, in late spring 2003. With the help of three volunteers, over the next 10 months, Monument paleontologist Alan Titus prepared the fossils for display.

At BLM's Kanab laboratory, hadrosaur skeleton is readied for display.
 Hadrosaur skeleton is readied for display at Grand Staircase-Escalante's Big Water visitor center.
In BLM's Kanab laboratory, the hadrosaur skeleton is readied for display at the Big Water Visitor Center.

In the course of preparing the specimen, Dr. Titus learned that additional fossil materials, notably parts of a hip, had been collected from the same Monument site by Museum of Northern Arizona paleontologists in the mid-1980s. 
Work continues on hadrosaur skull discovered in 2003.One of the hadrosaur skulls discovered in the Monument in 2003
The 2003 discovery of two hadrosaur skulls within the Monument guarantees that the "Adventure" will continue!
Installing the hadrosaur exhibit at the visitor center

The hadrosaur exhibit during installation at the visitor center.

Dr. Titus's comparison of the 1980s materials with other positively-identified hadrosaur specimens led him to conclude that those hip portions, as well as the "Share the Adventure!" bones collected in 2001, were not those of the odd, crested hadrosaur, Parasaurolophus, as previously believed.  Rather, they were more similar to those of a non-crested hadrosaur genus, Gryposaurus.The skeleton was finished in May of 2004 and transported to the new Big Water Visitor Center--one of five new visitor centers serving the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument--for exhibition in June of 2004. The Big Water center, which has a Late Cretaceous paleontology theme, features a 40-foot-long mural by a world-renowned paleolife restoration artist, Larry Felder.

The center features fully-accessible learning experiences and programs that interest and engage visitors of all ages and backgrounds. The hadrosaur’s bones will be on display there for at least the next few years. Class visits are encouraged!

New discovery: The complete skulls of two Gryposaurus-like hadrosaurs were found within the Monument in 2003. These fossils were collected by scientists during the summer and fall of 2004; work has already begun on their preparation.

BLM paleontologist Alan Titus describes mural at Big Water Visitor Center.
Detail from visitor center mural showing Gryposaurus, a non-crested dinosaur

Alan Titus, BLM paleontologist , describes species of dinosaur at the Big Water Visitor Center. The mural is part of a new exhibit at the center. (Photo by Christopher Sheid, Lake Powell (UT) Chronicle.)

Non-crested Gryposaurus, as depicted  in a detail from the Big Water Visitor Center mural by artist Larry Felder.

Big Water Visitor Center

Address: 100 Upper Revolution Way, Big Water, Utah
Telephone: (435) 675-3200
Hours: 7:30 AM – 5:30 PM, 7 days a week, mid-March to mid-November; closed mid-November to mid-March

Last updated: 10-23-2009