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Dave and Jan's travels, day 109:
Dinosaur National Monument

26 August
Most visitors to this park head straight for the quarry, expecting to see a couple of bones before belting back to the freeway. Instead, you meet a wall, about a hundred yards long and twenty feet high literally festooned with bones, including some very obvious and virtually complete skeletons of substantial beasties.

One story behind the quarry is quite amusing. Back around the end of the nineteenth century, there were a number of ludicrously wealthy robber barons in the US. Andrew Carnegie was one of these, and like many of the others it tickled his ego to run a public museum. Unlike Getty and others, his museum didn't have a complete dinosaur skeleton. So he sends his chief archeaologist off to look for one (!) - nothing like keeping up with the Joneses. Months later, shortly before throwing in the towel, said archaeologist blunders across a complete and gigantic brontosaurus, digs it up, and in the process unearths the quarry.

Back in Philadelphia, the skeleton is meticulously assembled and prepared for a grand opening. Mr Carnegie is apparently a somewhat touchy chap, and so no-one quite gets around to telling him that the skeleton is complete except for one small but signicant set of bones. So, twenty-four hours before the big unveiling, our patron finally discovers that his new pride and joy doesn't actually have a skull! Panic ensues, and eventually any old dinosaur skull is slapped on top. For the next fifty or more years, people were consequently confused about the shape of a brontosaurus head, until a real skull was finally found (much deeper down in the quarry). Hence the recent renaming of brontosaurus, to avoid further confusion.

After that we went for an intriguing and informative geological exploration. Fortunately for you all, I've since forgotten all that stuff. To end a splendid day, the local diner played Chuck Berry.


   (click thumbnails for a larger picture)

Fossils in the cliff (not that this does it justice)