Category Archives: Paleontology

Opening a Quarry

At the end of spring, on the eve of summer, each year the Museums of Western Colorado prepares to open the Mygatt-Moore Quarry in Rabbit Valley for dig season. It’s not as easy as just unlocking a gate and digging with a shovel… We first have to remove the excess dirt and rock we put over the quarry every fall. We do this to protect the site from fossil poaching, vandalism, and to keep winter … Read More

Summer Exhibit at Dinosaur Journey Museum

This summer, Dinosaur Journey in Fruita will host the Smithsonian traveling exhibit, “Titanoboa: Monster Snake.” Slithering in at 48 feet long and weighing an estimated one-and-a-half tons, a realistic replica of the world’s largest snake is sure to send chills down any visitor’s spine. Sixty million years ago, in the era after the mass extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs, scientists believe that a colossal snake related to modern boa constrictors thrived in a hot tropical … Read More

Loss of a Friend…

We are sad to report the loss of a dear friend of the Museums of Western Colorado, Peter Mygatt. Pete died in his home in Boise, ID on Feb. 23. He was 90 years old. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, journalist, photographer, miner, forest firefighter, car enthusiast and amateur paleontologist, Pete loved exploration and the road less-travelled. In 1981, while hiking with his wife, Marilyn, and friends J.D. and Vanetta Moore, they discovered … Read More

Museum Summer Camps

Robert Gay, Curator of Museum Education Taylor Barnett, Cross Orchards Site Manager The Museums of Western Colorado has a long history of providing hands-on educational opportunities to the youth of the Grand Valley. These have ranged from single-day camps at Cross Orchards to week-length experiences around the Grand Valley and the region. This summer the Museums of Western Colorado is proud to announce that we are expanding our offerings going into summer 2017. This year … Read More

Collaboration with Fruita Monument High School

As Curator of Education I take the job of involving the youth of today in our Museums seriously. Even before coming to work for the Museums I was ensuring that tomorrow’s leaders saw the value and importance in museums and research through a high school paleontology program. I am proud to announce that this idea is now being carried forward here in the Grand Valley. In the fall of 2016, I began working with Billy … Read More

Bears Ears Follow-up

On Dec. 28, 2016, President Barack Obama used the authority assigned to him under the Antiquities Act of 1906 by Congress to declare a Bears Ears National Monument. Now, most of the public debate surrounding this area has focused on the wealth of ancient sites, artifacts, rock art, and tribal connections to the area. But the paleontological resources of the area are also highly significant (see my accompanying article about my trip to Washington, D.C. … Read More

Rob Goes to Washington

On Oct. 31, 2016, I was invited to speak in Washington, D.C., to the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the USDA Forest Service, and the U.S. Department of the Interior. Why? To provide information and expertise on the paleontological resources of southeastern Utah, an area that has been receiving intense scrutiny as one that needs additional protection for its natural and cultural resources. As a paleontologist who has spent almost all my career working … Read More

Bears Ears

In the sweltering deserts of southeastern Utah lies a treasure trove of natural and cultural history. Rocks dating back almost half a billion years are exposed in harsh ridges, deep canyons, and forested plateaus. Fossils of strange, sail-backed amphibians, plant-eating crocodiles, and enormous dinosaurs can be found across this region, while the remains of more recent life wait to be found. Sloths, bison, American horses, and other large animals roamed the land during the last … Read More

Dinosaur Journey Gets a Spring Cleaning

It’s that time of year again, time to sweep out exhibits and scrub down the dinosaurs – it’s the I ♥ Dinos Spring Cleaning Event at Dinosaur Journey. On Monday, February 22nd, twenty museum staff, volunteers, interns, and board members rolled up their sleeves and helped clean the Dinosaur Journey exhibit hall. We are very grateful to have such a strong showing at the clean up; it’s a big museum and we certainly could not … Read More

Revitalization Begins on the Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway

The Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway is one of the few scenic byways in America to span two states – Utah and Colorado. The byway connects Price, Vernal and Moab, Utah with Fruita, Colorado and travels through some of the most beautiful country in the region. First designated as a state scenic byway in Colorado in 1997, the Utah segment (also known as the Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Byway) was designated in 1998. The entire route (both … Read More