Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Williams' Pipeline Project Leads to Dinosaur Discovery

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Williams' Pipeline Project Leads to Dinosaur Discovery

Article excerpt

TULSA (JR) -- A small paleontology firm based in Vernal, Utah, has made a big discovery, uncovering about 50 percent of a sauropod skeleton believed to be around 150 million years old. A sauropod is a plant-eating, four-legged, immense dinosaur from the Jurassic Period that had a characteristic long neck, long tail and small head. An example of a sauropod is a brontosaurus.

Evan Hall with Uinta Paleontological Associates made the find on June 21 near Jensen, Utah, while monitoring the right-of-way for a pipeline that is being built for a subsidiary of Williams, an energy and communications company.

The Bureau of Land Management had advised Williams to retain the services of numerous environmental, archaeological and paleontological consultants to meet federal and state requirements for the protection of scientifically significant resources along the pipeline project. Dinosaur National Monument, which contains the largest quarry of Jurassic Period dinosaur fossils ever found, is also in the general vicinity of construction, although the pipeline right of way does not traverse it.

Dr. Sue Ann Bilbey, who leads Uinta Paleo, said, "When we conducted our preliminary review of the right of way before construction began, we found some interesting rock formations and bone fragments. Obviously, we were tempted by the possibilities since this area is known for its fossil resources. But, finding clues is one thing. Piecing them together to discover a large portion of an entire dinosaur skeleton is another matter."

Hall, recounting the discovery, said, "I was following a machine that dug a ditch for the pipeline. Chunks of sandstone were coming up. Then, I saw little pieces of carbon-stained rock, then nothing for 30 feet. Finally, I thought I saw a piece of bone, but it was just wood. I was getting tired from the dry heat, and gnats were everywhere. Suddenly, large chunks of dark brown debris were flying into the air and I could see cross sections of a dinosaur limb bone in the ditch. …

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