Sunday, August 9, 2020

Dinosaurs in Colorado?

By Tiffany Amber Stockton

Last month, I wrote about one of Colorado's claims to fame in hosting the world's first rodeo (even though other states also make that claim). It is documented and proven for Deer Trail, though. If you missed that post, you can read it here:

Today, we're going to go way back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the earth...and did so in Colorado.


When you read about the town of Morrison, Colorado, you will almost always see the Red Rocks Ampitheatre mentioned right alongside it. This iconic natural rock formation is host to some very famous music concerts, performances, and even groups of extreme exercise fans.

However, there there was a time when the small mountain community was known less for music and more as a hotbed for dinosaur fossils. The town’s most famous discovery happened in 1877, less than a full year after Colorado achieved statehood. Professor and geologist Arthur Lakes discovered large dinosaur bones along the Dakota Hogback, and he asked dinosaur specialist Othniel Marsh to hire him so he could search for more.

For the next two years, Marsh directed Lakes’ search. The time spent digging and exploring that area is what produced the world’s first glimpses at Stegosaurus and Apatosaurus (or Brontosaurus) fossils. It's amazing to think these gigantic creatures once walked along the foot of the Rocky Mountains! Sadly, when Lakes concluded his research, the digging site went untouched and abandoned for 123 years. Experts resumed the search again in 2002, and today, the site is known as Dinosaur Ridge. It's a National Landmark and fascinating place to visit for anyone with a love of natural history.

In that same vein, the mascot for the Colorado Rockies baseball team is a triceratops named Dinger. Why? Because during the excavation of Coors Field in 1994, a handful of dinosaur fossils were found at the site. The marketing team for the Rockies created a much bigger spin on the truth than what actually happened, even going so far as to have the mascot be "hatched from an egg." That doesn't diminish the reality of the find, though. If you go to the basement of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, you will find a box containing a 4-inch rib bone and other fragments.

This is only one of many dinosaur stories here in Colorado. As a young girl, I was fascinated by dinosaurs and wrote several reports on them, including an extra credit assignment that featured a diorama and details of the topography common in areas where dinosaurs walked. Imagine my surprise when I move to Colorado and discover that topography is right here!


* Have you ever held a real fossil?

* Where is your favorite place to go see dinosaur fossils or skeletons?

* Do you have a fascination for dinosaurs? What is your favorite, and why?

* What topics would you like to see covered in future posts?

Answer any or all of the following, or leave any comment or question you'd like below. Come back on the 9th of September for my next appearance.


Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood, when she was accused of having a very active imagination and cited with talking entirely too much. Today, she has honed those childhood skills to become an award-winning and best-selling author and speaker who is also an advocate for literacy as an educational consultant with Usborne Books. She loves to share life-changing products and ideas with others to help better their lives.

She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, along with their two children and two dogs in Colorado. She has sold twenty (23) books so far and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. You can find her on Facebook and GoodReads.

1 comment:

  1. I think I may have seen or held a fossilized sea creature in a rock but I know that's not what you're referring to. I don't believe I've seen dinosaur fossils. I've seen pictures of models based on real fossils and the size amazes me. Thanks for posting!