Wednesday, October 6, 2010


The discovery of the Carnegie Quarry is one of the most important moments in the history of vertebrate paleontology in North America. The in-situ exhibit is a landmark in both resource management and public science education. The specimens collected and preserved in the quarry are an exceedingly important record of Late Jurassic life and continue to be the basis for scientific publications (see Whitlock et al. 2010(1) for a recent example).

One of the things that the Carnegie Quarry is renowned for is the number of skeletons complete enough to be put on display. The Diplodocus skeleton at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is the closest mount to Dinosaur of actual material from the Quarry. Other skeletons from the Quarry can be seen at the Smithsonian and the American Museum of Natural History.

However, it is at the Carnegie Museum where the greatest number of specimens are on public exhibit. This is not surprising given that it was the Carnegie that did most of the excavations (1909-1922) and its field crews shipped 700,000 pounds of fossils back to Pittsburgh. Furthermore, over the last few years the Carnegie has completed a $45 million project of expanding and completely redoing their fossil halls, including many, many new exhibits and specimens on display. It is one of the most spectacular dinosaur exhibits in the world, so if you ever have the chance to visit the museum, see it!

The Jurassic Hall

Specimens from Dinosaur National Monument comprise the majority of the terrestrial vertebrates in the Jurassic Hall. The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, a scientific society of international scope, will be holding their 70th annual meeting at the Carnegie Oct. 10-13, 2010. This will be the first time many paleontologists will have had to see the new exhibits.

For those of you who won’t be attending, here’s a peek at the specimens from Dinosaur:

Allosaurus fragilis

Marshosaurus bicentessimus

Apatosaurus louisae

Camarsaurus lentus

Diplodocus longus (skull and neck)
Camptosaurus aphanocetes

Dryosaurus altus

Stegosaurus stenops
Glyptops plicatulus (turtle)

Hoplosuchus kayi (crocodile)

I will be giving a presentation at the meetings about the QVC project (2). However, presentations are only 15 minutes long (including time for questions). So I can only touch on the high points and won’t have time for interesting side issues, such as the discovery of the 90 year old dynamite. Constant readers who have been following this blog have already gotten a much more detailed account of the work going on here.

(1) Whitlock, J.A., Wilson, J.A., and Lamanna, M,C, 2010. Description of a nearly complete juvenile skull of Diplodocus (Sauropoda: Diplodocoidea) from the Late Jurassic of North America. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 30(2) 442-457

(2) Chure, D.J. 2010. Racing Against Disaster: The Demolition, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of the Quarry Visitor Center, Carnegie Quarry, Dinosaur National Monument. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 28 (supplement to no. 3): 72A.

Photos: NPS

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