It’s been long since the dinosaurs, the majestic creatures who ruled our land, left this world. While we are still dwelling over films like the Jurassic World, a recent discovery leaves us with the possibility of finding a rare mammal once again.
Utah saw the discovery of a 180 million-year-old fossil, which is allegedly from the Jurassic Period. The National Park Service mentioned the fossil, and People reported, “first tritylodontid bonebed in the Navajo Sandstone.”
As per People, The National Park Service mentioned, “The discovery included body fossils like bones and teeth which are rare in the geologic formation known as the Navajo Sandstone within the Glen Canyon Group. This new discovery will shed light on the fossil history exposed on the changing shorelines of Lake Powell.”
The press release said that the first crew to find the first “tritylodontid bonebed in the Navajo Sandstone” was from Glen Canyon National Recreation Area(Glen Canyon NRA). The crew was recording fossil track sites along Lake Powell. The official report by NPS also reads, “The site had been submerged by Lake Powell’s fluctuating water levels and was only found because the paleontologists were in the right place at the right time before annual snowmelt filled the lake.”
The team only had 120 days to recover the fossils. “Paleontologists in March of this year discovered a rare fossil horizon featuring impressions of bones and bone fragments of tritylodontid mammaliaforms — early herbivorous mammal relatives dating back to 180 million years ago.”
Experts also said, “The site had been submerged by Lake Powell’s fluctuating water levels and was only found because the paleontologists were in the right place at the right time before annual snowmelt filled the lake.” This announcement came about on National Fossil Day, which is celebrated on October 11, 2023.
They mentioned, “The Prehistoric Museum in Price, Utah, will then house the fossils as part of the Glen Canyon NRA museum collections. ” But how did the process of finding these fossils go about?
The NPS official press release reads, “The crew collected several hundred pounds of rocks encasing the fossil bones and skeletons at the site. These will be scanned with X-ray computerized tomography (CT) at the University of Utah South Jordan Health Center, mechanically prepared and studied at St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm (SGDS) by the lab and collections crew volunteers, with help from Petrified Forest National Park and the Smithsonian Institution. ”
Lake Powell holds a plethora of knowledge as this was one of the mass extinction periods in History. It is, therefore, one of the hotspots of research by NPS. The official press release throws light on that, saying, “The towering geologic formations that surround Lake Powell are home to a vast suite of unexplored fossil remains, making Glen Canyon NRA one of the National Park Service’s (NPS) most significant areas for paleontological research. The most famous and abundant fossils known from Glen Canyon NRA are the footprints of meat-eating dinosaurs in the Glen Canyon Group. This series of sedimentary rocks, named after their exposures along the canyon itself, were laid down by rivers, lakes, streams and deserts from the Late Triassic Epoch through the Early Jurassic Epoch.”
They also hinted at another rare fossil being found. The official report read, “Additionally, another rare bone bed was discovered nearby in the slightly older Kayenta Formation. ” But no further information was shared on the same.