Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is becoming known at the best record of Late Cretaceous terrestrial life. The remains of dinosaurs—hadrosaurs, ceratopsians, and tyrannosaurs—are impressive, with more than 50 genera of dinosaurs represented. There are more than 5,000 square km of fossil-rich Late Cretaceous rocks exposed. The realization of the fossil riches in the area did not come until the 1980s. More than 800 fossil locations are known (Stokstad 2001). In 2011, the sixth entirely new species of dinosaur was discovered in the monument. Fossil of plants and invertebrates are also preserved with the dinosaurs. The monument contains the Wolverine Petrified Forest, the second largest Late Triassic fossil forest known (Ash 2001). The park offers scenic drives, slot canyons, hoodoos, dinosaur tracks, and arches. The three major sections, from west to east, are the Grand Staircase, Kaiparowits Plateau, and the Escalante River canyons. This is one of the most remote areas in the lower 48 states and well deserving as a national monument under the Antiquities Act.

Ash, Sidney. 2001. A Late Triassic Trove of Fossil Plants. Science 294:2093.

Stokstad, Erik. 2001. Utah’s Fossil Trove Beckons, and Tests, Researchers. Science 294:41-43

 

 

 

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