Thursday, 11 July 2013

Of Dinosaurs, Petroglyphs and Pictographs

150 million years ago, give or take a bit, a whole lot of dinosaurs died, in what is now Utah.  Their bones were swept along a river and deposited together in a dinosaur graveyard.  Along came Earl Douglass who discovered and began excavating the bones. He was followed some years later by the National Parks Service ('NPS'). The NPS built an exhibit hall around the main dinosaur quarry and commenced a people-mover tram service from the carpark at the bottom of the canyon leading up the hill to the quarry.


Part of the dinosaur fossil wall

All this means, that the modern tourist, to wit David and I, can experience one of the most stunning montages nature has to offer with almost no actual effort required on our part at all. The Dinosaur National Monument Exhibit Hall encloses and protects a wall of rock containing 1500 dinosaur fossils. Many of them are a metre or more in length and easily identifiable.  D is not a fossil person, but even he was impressed. I just loved it. I definitely missed my calling. I should have been a paleontologist.




Some close ups


Once outside the Exhibit Hall, we declined the tram ride down the hill and walked along a trail leading back to the car park.  Dotted along the trail, embedded in the rock, were more fossils. They were much more difficult to pick out but because of this each discovery was all the more exciting.

A large femur next to the trail.

It was hot again today and as stunning as the dinosaur fossils were, it was great to get back in the car for a self-guided 'Tour of the Tilted Rocks'.  Geology generally leaves me in an almost catatonic stupor. As rocks go, these were pretty interesting, lots of colours and unusual formations but the highlight of the drive was the rock art, petroglyphs and pictographs, left here 1,000 years ago by the Fremont people.  No-one knows whether they were created as works of art, religious symbols, or maybe, as D insists, just by some guy with an urge to spend a few hours doodling, but it doesn't really matter because like the dinosaur fossils they are just great to look at and ponder. 




Serious art or ancient graffiti

For the next post in this series click - here

For all my posts on this road trip click - here


19 June 2013

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