Looking to discover fossils in the USA? Today we share how to discover Dinosaurs found in North America, so you can visit these fossil parks.
For many people, the prehistoric world was a source of wonder and amazement. Even though humans may never be able to view these extinct creatures in person, prehistoric specialists have an abundance of fossils to observe.
In the United States, you’ll find anything from ongoing excavations filled with ancient rhinos to a dense pile of Allosaurus bones that has amazed paleontologists for years.
Importance Of Fossils
Fossils precede recorded history by millennia, yet their effect on human civilization the way people perceive the planet has been evident for generations. They have always piqued people’s interest because they provide a peek into previously unknown or lost realms.
At some point, fossils provide scientists with the actual evidence necessary to put together earth’s natural past. For instance, fossil explorations in the late 1700s aided scientists in understanding the idea of extinction.
The importance of exploring the fossil record has not diminished in the modern era. Scientists can understand how humans could react to future climate changes by studying how other species have responded to shifts in the past.
Where To Find Fossils in the USA
Whether you have fossil-obsessed children or you’re a fossil fanatic, here are a few locations where you may personally explore the ancient past.
Dinosaur National Monument, Utah
Dinosaur National Monument is regarded as one of the most famous fossil spots in the United States of America. It is situated in Utah’s Unita Mountains, close to the Colorado border. It preserves one of the greatest dinosaur fossil sites in North America, which was unearthed in 1909.
Though both bordering states have stunning portions, Utah has more fossils. Several of the world’s most known scientific museums have fossils from this area. This includes the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington and the Museum of Natural History in New York City.
Moreover, make sure to check out the Quarry Exhibit. It has an enclosed, partly excavated rock wall with over 1600 bones projecting. It’s certainly a sight to behold.
Dinosaur Ridge, Colorado
Dinosaur Ridge was discovered by paleontologists in 1877 and quickly became famous for its dinosaur skeletons and footprints. It is where the world’s first Stegosaurus and Apatosaurus fossils were unearthed.
It’s now a National Natural Landmark accessible to the public and provides tourists with a wide range of geological, biological, and paleontological knowledge. Tourists may observe hundreds of fossilized bones and dinosaur footprints preserved in the Dakota Ridge sandstone.
Dinosaur Ridge also features a museum, fossilized dinosaur trails, and a quarry. Moreover, their exhibit hall contains information on the site’s history of excavation and the sorts of fossils discovered there. Tourists may learn about various geological and paleontological elements on their hiking trails.
Dinosaur State Park, Connecticut
Dinosaur State Park has one of the most significant dinosaur fossils in the country. It is the location for 3500 Jurassic-era dinosaur tracks. The most impressive specimens are on display at the Exhibit Center. It is a geodesic dome designed to function as the park’s showpiece.
Additionally, you may tour the trails around the center. The trails feature rock formations and plants said to have existed during the Jurassic period. Moreover, you may visit the Arboretum in Dinosaur State Park. It is home to around 250 conifer species and live members of plant groups that existed during the Age of Dinosaurs.
Dinosaur Valley State Park, Texas
Dinosaurs made tracks in the dirt at the shore of an old ocean thousands of years ago. Today, you may follow in their footsteps along Dinosaur Valley State Park’s Paluxy River bed.
You can begin your tour in Dinosaur Valley by snapping a photo with the massive dinosaur models. Alternatively, you may follow the fossilized footprints of these extinct creatures as they traverse the park’s 1500 acres.
Dinosaur Valley State Park is a must-see for anybody interested in dinosaurs. Moreover, dinosaurs aren’t the only thing Dinosaur Valley State Park offers. Hikers and bikers may enjoy trails in the area. Dinosaur Valley is also a wonderful site to see various animals and flora.
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, Nebraska
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument has some of the USA’s best paleontological discoveries. Despite the reality that dinosaur fossils receive the most attention, mammals take center stage in Agate Fossil Beds.
The monument houses the 20-million-year-old animals such as the moropus, a cross between an anteater and a donkey. It is also home to the dinohyus, a pig as giant as a bison, and the Bear Dog.
The monument also features the Fossil Hills Trail, allowing visitors to explore the quarries where many of the park’s most notable fossils were discovered. Additionally, you may follow the Daemonelix Trail to view outdoor fossil displays. The displays include the peculiar petrified habitats of the prehistoric palaeocastor, known as the dry land beaver.
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park is the site of one of the planet’s most extraordinary fossil animal beds. Paleontologists and enthusiasts alike have been attracted by the fossils discovered in the Badlands ever since the mid-1800s.
Due to the abundance of fossils, Badlands National Park is fortunate to support paleontological study. The Badlands Fossil Preparation Lab was established in 2012 after unearthing a significant saber-toothed feline skull.
In addition, the lab has developed to serve the park’s greatest interpretative program. Moreover, it has grown into an exceptional fossil preparation and preservation laboratory supplied with cutting-edge technologies for public fossil processing. Unlike any other facility, the public is welcomed inside to see operations up close.
Big Brook Preserve, New Jersey
Big Brook Preserve is among the very few locations on the East Coast where you may easily find fossils. The region is well-known for its diverse collection of shark teeth and other aquatic fossils.
Additionally, Big Brook Preserve is a center for preserved shark teeth from the Cretaceous period. This is because the ocean buried it during that time. Apart from shark teeth, archaeologists have uncovered bones and teeth from mosasaur, a vast aquatic reptile that could grow to 50 feet in length.
Big Brook’s famous creeks have dug through the earth, exposing all of these abundant fossils. You’ll be able to choose your own way along the creek, searching for fossils from the past. However, there are restrictions, including the following:
- You may collect no more than five fossils each day
- You may not dig for them
- Your sifting screen may not be wider than 18 inches
The best ones may be donated to museums, so keep an eye out for them.
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, Colorado
The Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument was established in 1969 to save one of the planet’s most prolific fossil beds. Florissant’s abundant fossil beds were first studied scientifically in the 1800s. Today, paleontologists are still working to put together the region’s ancient past.
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument’s fossils are part of a collective geologic history. The geological strata underneath this valley hold one of the world’s best fossil concentrations. As a result of their preservation provides evidence of a diverse range of ecosystems and living forms that existed in the area throughout the late Eocene period.
Outdoor exhibits in the monument, including petrified stumps from ancient forests, will appeal to fossil aficionados. In addition, there is a geological path that illustrates how the earth’s forces created the national monument’s boundaries.
Fossil Butte National Monument, Wyoming
Since its inception in 1972, the Fossil Butte National Monument has sought to preserve the world-renowned paleontological resources of Fossil Lake. It comprises a vast array of petrified fish, flora, and insects covered under volcanic ash. These fossils were buried over 50 million years ago in what is now known as the Green River Formation.
A museum and quarry may be found at the site. In the summer, tourists may participate in a fossil hunting program called the Quarry Program. However, fossils discovered at this location are not permitted to be carried home.
John Day Fossil Beds, Oregon
The John Day Fossil Beds provide insight into the Cenozoic Era’s different strata of life. This whole area of Oregon submerged in the Pacific Ocean around 54 million years ago. Scientists discovered fossilized remains of over 2,200 flora and fauna and significant fluctuations in temperature and rainfall, which may provide insight into the planet’s climatic cycles.
Additionally, the park provides rough hiking routes and picturesque vistas. Furthermore, it has a museum filled with intriguing fossils that encourage visitors to contemplate the planet’s vast past.
Jurassic National Monument, Utah
Jurassic National Monument is a significant repository of dinosaur fossils. It is located in the area of the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry. Moreover, this large fossil bed has yielded almost 12,000 unique bones and a dinosaur egg. More importantly, the deposit contains the most extensive known collection of Jurassic bones yet discovered.
Several ‘full skeletons’ have probably been discovered. However, this cannot be said with certainty due to the fragmented nature of the bones. Moreover, these bones have been reconstructed and are now exhibited in museums worldwide.
La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, California
For more than a century, the La Brea Tar Pits have enthralled scientists and tourists alike. It’s the only Ice Age fossil source on the planet consistently excavated in a modern city.
Since the 1900s, the Tar Pits have seen more than a hundred excavations. Most of the fossils found here are now kept at the La Brea Tar Pits Museum. This museum is located in the heart of the Tar Pits itself.
Moreover, the discoveries range in scale from massive prehistoric mammoths to microscopic traces of flora and fauna that provide insight into how past environments and climates altered.
Mammoth Site, South Dakota
Mammoths, which were extinct only a few millennia ago, are relative newbies compared to dinosaurs. However, the ancient beasts continue to captivate tourists to this old sinkhole, home to the world’s biggest collection of mammoth remains.
The Mammoth Site is a working paleontological excavation site open to the public. As previously noted, it is home to the world’s highest collection of mammoth bones. They now have 61 mammoths, including 58 Columbian and three woolly species.
This indoor excavation site allows visitors to observe Ice Age fossils. Moreover, you may explore the Mammoth Site on your own or join one of the many educational programs offered throughout the year.
Montour Preserve Fossil Pit, Pennsylvania
The Montour Preserve Fossil Pit bore witness to a region’s history when it was swampier. It is roughly one acre and is composed of open Mahantango Formation shale.
Moreover, these shales are exceptionally fossil-rich because they were formed 395 million years ago. During the Devonian Period, most of Pennsylvania was submerged by a warm, shallow body of water.
Tourists are permitted to collect fossils and are encouraged to bring simple equipment such as a mini hammer, eye protection, and a brush. Make sure you arrive at least an hour before it gets too hot since the rocks may become quite hot in the late afternoon sun.
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
Roughly 200 million years back, lush trees and plants covered a region in Northeastern Arizona. However, volcanic lava devastated the woodland, and the remnants were buried in volcanic ash and water-saturated silt. Eras later, erosion unveiled the petrified wood that attracts Arizona tourists.
Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona is home to one of the world’s biggest and most vividly colored collections of fossilized wood, historic buildings, and ancient sites. Likewise, the park offers several opportunities for outdoor recreation, and the perfect way to appreciate and explore it is by foot.
You may also ride a horse into Wilderness Area or go on an overnight hiking trek within the park.
Dig It Up
The United States is densely covered with fossilized remains of prehistoric creatures, large and small. A few are discovered in deserts that were formerly prehistoric ocean bottoms. Others are found in metropolitan areas where continents broke off eons ago.
If fossils tickle your fascination or you want to discover what paleontologists are up to, include the places mentioned above in your USA bucketlist and delve further into your passion for prehistoric creatures.