Discovery and History
Over the last 15 years, the fossil-rich badlands of the Kaiparowits Plateau have yielded over twenty new species of dinosaur, many of which have yet to be described. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument’s paleontology program is at the epicenter of this scientific revolution. The transitory stop these priceless treasures make at the paleo lab is an integral part of their journey from Monument badlands to museum. Here, the remains of animals that died more than 70 million years ago are peeled out of protective plaster jackets and meticulously prepared for display and study.
The work horses of the lab are dedicated and tireless volunteers who are crucial to the preparation of the many kinds of dinosaurs including ceratopsids, tyrannosaurs, and the ubiquitous herbivorous hadrosaurs. All these share the lab with a whole menagerie of Cretaceous creatures; alligators, turtles, fish, and countless ammonites, just to name a few. This is a huge job that requires careful organization and supervision of each step along the way. At the request of the Monument, Partners hired a geology graduate to manage lab and field work, catalog the collections, train and coordinate the volunteers, and educate the public.
Currently, the lab is equipped with 10 work spaces and is open to volunteers Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. To volunteer, call Grand Staircase-Escalante paleontologist Dr. Alan Titus at 435-644-1219.
The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology has put together a summary of fossil resources in Grand Staircase-Escalante:
Visit their website at vertpaleo.org.