Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck Discover Eastern Utah is a Geological Treasure

Eastern Utah features diverse geological and historical landscape.

Welcome to Eastern Utah

Welcome to Eastern Utah

We have to show you what we discovered driving in eastern Utah.   We thought these rock formations were pretty.

All formed by wind and water

All formed by wind and water

There are many deer here.

We love to see deer

We love to see deer

We saw several, but we loved each one.   This part of eastern Utah has a really ancient history.   150 million years ago, dinosaurs roamed.  We saw the bones from over 500 dinosaurs that died 149 million years ago.   Further signs told us more:   95 million years ago shallow seas covered Utah.   65 million years ago all dinosaurs became extinct.  45-65 million years ago the Rocky Mountains rise up.   It is those magnificent Rocky Mountains we admire every day.   Then 5 million years ago the Green and Yampa Rivers cut canyons here.   4 million years ago the earliest human ancestors are in Africa.   50,000 years ago we have the earliest evidence of Big Horn Sheep in Utah.   And they are still here.  16,000 years ago the most recent ice age was world wide.   1,000 years ago the Fremont People lived in Eastern Utah.   Remember these petroglyphs they left from previous post?

Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs

1909 dinosaur fossils were discovered in this area.   We wanted you to see all that has happened here to form this unusual landscape.  In 1776 a group of 10 explorers tried to find a land route between present day Santa Fe, New Mexico and Monterey, California.   During this expedition, these explorers passed through this land also.   Remember that this same year, 1776, our forefathers were writing the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia.

Early explorers were here

Early explorers were here

This expedition was led by two priests, Father Francisco Atanasio Dominguez and Father Silvestre Velez de Escalante.  Utah had dinosaurs, was underwater, survived the emergence of the Rocky Mountains, and even white explorers 100 years before Utah gained statehood.   That is a lot of changes for our duck minds to absorb.    Mammals and dinosaurs first appeared here, in the Chinle Formation.

Dinosaurs and mammals here

Dinosaurs and mammals here

Love this area.

So many uses and changes over the last 150 million years

So many uses and changes over the last 150 million years

In this Humbug Formation, once there was a tropical sea.

Humburg Formaton. Deposits of a Tropical Sea Really?

Humbug Formaton. Deposits of a Tropical Sea Really?

And at the Stump Formation, giant marine reptiles once swam.

Stump Formation. Where Giant Marine Reptiles Swam. Are you sure?

Stump Formation. Where Giant Marine Reptiles Swam. Are you sure?

There sure in no water here now for any swimming.   What a huge change occurred here.   Giant stegosaurus dinosaurs once wandered here.

Morrison Formation. Stegosaurus Wandered Here

Morrison Formation. Stegosaurus Wandered Here

Wait, mom!   Stegosaurus once wandered here and they had huge feet.

Stegosaurus here? Let's get out of here

Stegosaurus here? Let’s get out of here

Do you think they will come back?   We are so small they would not see us.   Are they really gone?  Really extinct?   Remember we watched the movie Jurassic Park.   We, Zeb and Soapy, hope you visit eastern Utah and see this amazing landscape and visualize all the changes that have taken place here.

Zeb and Soapy See Ancient Bones at Dinosaur National Monument in Utah

Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck saw so many bones today.   So many big bones!   We drove from Colorado to Jensen, Utah.

Jensen, Utah Welcome Center

Jensen, Utah Welcome Center

After the Visitor’s Center, armed with new maps and information, we drove to Utah’s Dinosaur National Monument.   This National Monument was established in 1915.   We will see real dinosaur bones today.

Dinosaur National Monument in Utah

Dinosaur National Monument in Utah

We met a new friend at Dinosaur National Monument Visitor’s Center.

Zeb and Soapy watched by dinosaur

Zeb and Soapy watched by dinosaur

He is looking at us in a fun way, mom.   Inside we learned that people have been living here along the Green and Yampa Rivers for over 10,000 years.   The Fremont people lived here 1,000 years ago and left petroglyphs on rocks.   Mom said we will see some before we leave Utah’s Dinosaur Monument.   First we visited the Quarry Exhibit Hall.

Quarry Exhibit Hall

Quarry Exhibit Hall

One side of this exhibit hall is an actual wall of the quarry.   We can sit on these real dinosaur bones still in the quarry wall.

Bones still in the earth

Bones still in the earth

The signs tell us that these dinosaur bones are 149 million years old.    That is really old!    We are on the case of one of the best preserved skulls ever discovered.   The large allosaurus skull, discovered here in 1924, has thin, delicate bones and amazingly is not crushed.

A real dinosaur skull. Allosaurus

A real dinosaur skull. Allosaurus

This original fossil is from the Morrison Formation of the late Jurassic Period.   The allosaurus was the dominant predator of the Jurassic Period.   This massive thigh bone is a convenient resting place for small yellow ducks.

Massive thigh bone of Camarasaurus

Massive thigh bone of Camarasaurus

This adult right thigh bone is an original Camarasaurus Femur, also from the Morrison Formation of the Jurassic Period.   The Camarasaurus was the most common dinosaur in the quarry and this femur is also 149 million years old.   This sign lists the dinosaur remains found in this quarry.

Bones of these dinosaurs are here

Bones of these dinosaurs are here

Quite a variety of dinosaurs lived and roamed here millions of years ago.   The quarry still has many bones in the dirt.

Still in the quarry wall

Still in the quarry wall

We, The Colorado Traveling Ducks, are amazed by the variety of these bones.

Bones still in quarry wall

Bones still in quarry wall

Zeb and Soapy wanted to know why so many dinosaur bones are in this area.   Information from The US National Park Service tells us this story.   “Dinosaur National Monument includes one of the Earth’s richest known dinosaur fossil beds.   These remains are from the Jurassic period 150 million years ago.   During a drought, many dinosaurs died near a river’s edge.   When rains returned, floodwaters carried the jumbled bones of over 500 dinosaurs, representing ten species, here.   Ancient river sediments, now called Morrison sandstone, entombed the dinosaur bones.   Minerals then filled the bones (though some organic material survived) and cast them in stone.   Erosion eventually exposed the fossils.   In 1909 Earl Douglass, of Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum, declared this site ‘the best-looking dinosaur prospect I have ever found.'”      We drove through the national monument, stopping to see petroglyphs from the Fremont People.   Let’s go to the cave and look.

Let's go to the cave

Let’s go to the cave

This carvings in the wall are about 1,000 years old.

Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs

Aren’t they great?

1,000 years old and great condition

1,000 years old and great condition

These are not in the cave, but on a rock near the entrance.

Outside cave

Outside cave

There is so much to see and learn here and the hiking trails are great and well marked.   We hope you visit Dinosaur National Monument or any of the more than 400 parks in the US National Park System.   2016 is the 100th anniversary of the US National Park Service.   We love visiting these parks and think you would also enjoy them.

Dinosaurs in Denver

We have a great museum in Denver. We visit the Denver Museum of Nature and Science often.   I, Zeb the Duck, and Soapy Smith Duck wanted to see dinosaurs.  Before we even entered the museum, we saw dinosaurs by the parking garage.

By the parking garage

By the parking garage

Aren’t these guys great?

Dinosaur by elevator to parking garage

Dinosaur by elevator to parking garage

And big!

As we entered the museum, we were greeted by T-Rex.  He weighed about 7 tons and could run 25 miles per hour.

T-Rex greets us!

T-Rex greets us!

T-Rex had a long tail for balance as he walked on 2 legs.  His small arms were for holding prey and to help him get up from a resting position.   T-Rex had really powerful jaws and neck muscles.

What a big, powerful head

What a big, powerful head

You would not get away from this guy.

Heading to the second floor to visit Prehistoric Journey,

This is a great display

This is a great display

we saw plesiosaurs.  He is called the ancient swimmer of the deep.

Wouldn't be our favorite swimming mate

Wouldn’t be our favorite swimming mate

We ducks do not want to swim with him.

Entering Prehistoric Journey we saw dinosaurs everywhere. This skeleton is of walking fortress.

Walking Fortress

Walking Fortress

You can see how he got that name.   Walking Fortress has small teeth and a wide body so scientists believe he was a plant eater.

This long necked dinosaur is about 150 million years old.

Long necked dinosaur

Long necked dinosaur

The duckbilled dinosaur, or Hadrosaur,  is impressive also.

Duck billed dinosaur

Duck billed dinosaur

Duckbilled dinosaur has a toothless beak, but behind that beak each duckbilled had tightly packed teeth, as many as 1,000 at a time.  When one tooth wore out, another replaced it.  No dentures for dinosaurs.

We saw lots of dinosaur exhibits.

So many dinosaurs

So many dinosaurs

You will want to see these.   The name of this exhibit is Prehistoric Journey, so there are more than dinosaurs here.

Look at what lived in the Nebraska woodland about 20 million years ago.

He lived in Nebraska about 20 million years ago.

He lived in Nebraska about 20 million years ago.

This “Big Pig” looms menacingly as it catches sight and scent of prey.  This big pig was both a predator and a scavenger.  These pigs lived and traveled in herds.

We liked this exhibit and we like dinosaurs.   But we are little ducks and we are very happy that these big animals are not walking around here today.   We hope you visit our museum or a museum near you.  Museums have so many fascinating things to see and you can learn so much there.

You will love all the dinosaurs.

You will love all the dinosaurs.