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Bears Ears Fossils: 'Spectacular' Find Made in Utah

Image: Bears Ears Fossils: 'Spectacular' Find Made in Utah
Triassic fossils were found in a part of Utah that used to be part of Bears Ears National Monument. (Arlene Hochman Waller/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Monday, 26 February 2018 03:28 PM

A cache of fossils has been found on land that was formerly Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah.

The discovery was announced Thursday by the Western Association of Vertebrate Paleontologists at its annual conference. Researchers say the fossils may represent one of the world’s most important collections of Triassic-era specimens, including intact skulls of ancient crocodile-type animals.

The site is reported to be 70 yards long, but it is not yet known how deep it goes. It “may be the densest area of Triassic period fossils in the nation, maybe the world,” said Museums of Western Colorado contractor Rob Gay, who led the team of researchers, The Washington Post reported.

In December, President Donald Trump reduced the size of Bears Ears by more than a million acres (total size was 1.35 million acres) and another Utah monument, Grand Staircase-Escalante, by about 800,000 acres. Uranium mining and drilling for other resources such natural gas are expected to begin shortly on some of the formerly protected land. 

The discovery took place last year, but it is not known whether Trump knew of it before removing protections, HuffPost reported. The fossils were found in part of the Chinle Formation, which runs through the center of the land originally designated as a national monument. 

Most of the other known Triassic-period fossils have been discovered in Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico. The Triassic period occurred between 251 million and 199 million years ago after Earth’s first mass extinction.

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A cache of fossils has been found on land that was formerly Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah.
bears ears, fossils, utah
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2018-28-26
Monday, 26 February 2018 03:28 PM
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