Paleontology

Palentologists have found a rich trove of dinosaur remains in the rock formations of the Moab area. Long before the land was dry and arid in its present state, dinosaurs roamed the region, which was then covered, in turn, by forests and lakes, then sand dunes and oases, then rivers and floodplains, and then swamps, shallow seas, and giant lakes.

On display in the Museum of Moab is an exciting collection of items:

  • A full cast skeleton of Gastonia, one of the armored dinosaurs that lived in this area during the Early Cretaceous
  • The real pelvis and tail of a Camarasaurus, a 40-foot-long plant eater that lived in what is now the Moab area during the Late Jurassic
  • Track imprints of dinosaurs
  • Petrified sections of confier trees and cycads from the Late Triassic and Late Jurassic
  • The cast hind leg of a Utahraptor, a carnivorous dinosaur first found near Arches National Park in the Cedar Mountain Formation.

Visitors can step back in time in the Virginia Fossey room, devoted to the Mesozoic Era, the age of dinosaurs. It depicts the climate conditions and the existing geography at the time of the dinosaurs. Beautifully illustrated panels take visitors through the Mesozoic Era. On display is a partial section of vertebrae bones from a sauropod (Camarasaurus) found on private land south of Moab in the Morrison Formation of the Jurassic Period.

Stephen Spielberg’s movie, “Jurassic Park”, had to enlarge the "Velociraptor"'s for dramatic effect. Spielberg should have used theUtahraptor, discovered north of Moab, which was the terrifying size he depicts in the film. At the museum you can see a replica of leg of a Utahraptor found in the Cedar Mountain Formation of the Cretaceous period. The leg alone is over 4 feet tall feet tall!