National Fossil Day
Today is National Fossil Day! The National Park Service and over 220 partners are celebrating our nation’s rich fossil heritage and promoting science education today, the third annual National Fossil Day.
This national celebration is designed to promote interest in and a furher understanding of dinosaurs and other ancient animals and plants, many which are preserved in rocks within national parks.
Dinosaur footprints, petrified trees, ancient coral reefs and fossil mammal skeletons are just some of the types of fossils found in our national parks. Paleontological research has yielded information about fossils in 237 parks in the National Park System. Collectively, fossils from the parks provide a detailed story about the history of ancient life in America, foster opportunities for further discovery and research, and enable the public to experience fossils in their natural setting – within rocks.
Do you know which dinosaur was designated as the Texas State Dinosaur?
Texas designated Brachiosaur sauropod, Pleurocoelus as the official state dinosaur in 1997. But in 2007, paleontologists re-identified the bones and footprints (left in the north and central parts of Texas about 95 to 112 million years ago) as Paluxysaurus Jonesi. The dinosaur is named for the town of Paluxy in Hood County and for the Paluxy River, both of which are near the Jones Ranch site where the fossils of this species were discovered.
In 2009 a resolution was passed to amend the name of the Lone Star state dinosaur to Paluxysaurus Jonesi. it is estimated that this dinosaur measured 70 feet long and 12 feet high at the shoulder, and weighed as much as 20 tons.
Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas contains some of the best preserved dinosaur tracks in the world. The dinosaur tracks are located in the riverbed, so please call ahead to check on river conditions. There are two fiberglass models, a 70-foot Apatosaurus and a 45-foot Tyrannosaurus Rex. They were built, under commission of the Sinclair Oil Company, for New York World’s Fair Dinosaur Exhibit of 1964 – 1965. Other activities include camping, picnicking, hiking, mountain biking, equestrian use in a separate 100-acre area, river swimming and fishing, and wildlife observation.