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Utah Travel Headlines

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Utah Desert Yields Strange New Dinosaur

Fossils from an interesting new dinosaur species have been unearthed in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah. The species is named Hagryphus giganteus, or giant four-footed, birdlike god of the Western desert.

This AP news report describes the dinosaur as birdlike, resembling a 7-foot-tall brightly colored turkey that could run up to 25 mph.

Fossils of the meat-eater's hand-like claw and foot were found near the Utah/Arizona border.

Grand Staircase-Escalante "is the last great, unexplored dinosaur bone yard in the lower 48 states," said Scott Sampson, chief curator at the Utah Museum of Natural History. He co-authored a scientific article on the new dinosaur.

The monument has yielded other important dinosaur finds, which are being studied and will be described in future articles.

Grand Staircase dinosaur dig sites are not open to the public. Some fossils from the monument are displayed at museums around the region, including the Museum of Natural History. Utah has a number of excellent dinosaur sites that are open to the public.

Grand Staircase includes a vast area offering great opportunity for many kinds of recreation, particularly hiking, canyoneering, horseback riding and jeeping.


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