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Dinosaur Discoveries in the United States Throughout History

A Megaraptor fossil that has been found.

A Megaraptor fossil that has been found.

What Caused the Extinction of the Dinosaur?

Dinosaurs are probably the most infamous extinct animals because many were taller than the giraffe, heavier than the elephant, and walked on two legs. At one time, thousands of dinosaurs roamed the earth, much as we do. Unfortunately, there is much about their disappearance that is unknown. One of the most popular beliefs is that a meteor caused their extinction. Fortunately, they left their fingerprints behind in the form of fossils that allow us to study them today. Every day there are new dinosaur discoveries. Two of the latest dinosaur discoveries were uncovered recently within the United States: the Kosmoceratops and Utahceratops.

A Great Dinosaur Rush in America

Many of these discoveries would not have occurred without two great dinosaur rushes in America. One began in Colorado and continued in Wyoming during the late 1870s. Two elite paleontologists started it at Yale University: Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Marsh.

They first discovered a great mass of dinosaur bones in the Garden Park area of Colorado. Shortly after, they found more in Como Bluff, Wyoming, which began a mad search for dinosaur bones, specifically in the North American region. Although these men began as friends, the rush caused feuds between them. They later became great rivals due to the intense search for dinosaur bones, which proved great scientifically since it led to many discoveries, but not for the relationship of the old friends.

A second Dinosaur Rush began in the Red Deer River, located in southern Alberta, Canada, around the early nineteen hundreds. Although the first dinosaur discovery in this area was in 1884, it took 30 years before the rush truly began. This rush also caused a feud to begin. Fortunately, this was a much friendlier and healthier competition that served to further the discoveries of dinosaurs. It was between two great paleontologists: Barnum Brown, who worked for the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and C.H. Sternberg, who worked for the Geological Survey of Canada.

First Dinosaur Discovery: Hadrosaurus Foulkii

The term dinosaur, or at least dinosaurios, was first coined in 1842. It was not until many years later, in the early to mid-nineteen hundreds, that people began to understand what dinosaurs looked like.

The first fully-formed dinosaur specimen was found in Haddonfield, New Jersey. They named this dinosaur the Hadrosaurus foulkii. William Parker Foulke discovered it as he was vacationing in the town. He ended up hiring a crew to dig out this creature. It is bigger than an elephant with lizard and birdlike features.

The Hadrosaurus stood on only two legs with very short arms. Before this time, many believed that all reptiles walked on all fours, not bipedal; this was a significant discovery. The Hadrosaurus foulkii was first displayed in the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia in 1868. For many years, this was the only dinosaur on display, although they created many casts that they spread out to other museums.

The Tyrannosaurus Rex

The infamous T-Rex mostly lived in the United States of America. Only 30 Tyrannosaurus fossils have ever been discovered, and most of them are in the western part of the US. Some have been uncovered in Montana, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. There was also a Tyrannosaurus rex footprint found in New Mexico. The only other places that have unearthed this magnificent beast are Canada and Mongolia (Asia).

The most significant find was in Montana in 2000, when Jack and Celeste Horner, Bob Harmon, Larry Boychuk, and Greg Wilson uncovered five Tyrannosaurus fossils near Fort Peck Reservoir. This was the first time anyone had discovered more than one of these great beasts in the same spot.

In South Dakota, Americans were lucky to discover a juvenile T. rex or Kid rex. They named this find Tinker, which was believed to be five or six when it died. It was only 2/3 of the size of an adult T. rex and only a quarter of the weight. Fortunately, they got quite a bit of information on this Kid rex since they unearthed 70 percent of its fossil remains. Since they have never been able to find a T. rex's complete skeletal remains, 70 percent is a great find.

The most complete T. rex fossil was also found in South Dakota in August of 1990. They named it Sue, after Susan Hendrickson, the woman who discovered it. It is now seen in Chicago at the Field Museum and has been there since 1997. It was auctioned at 7.6 million dollars!

Kosmoceratops richardsoni: Dinosaur Discover in the Twenty First Century

Although that was the first, more recently, on Wednesday, September 22, 2010, a discovery was found in Salt Lake City, Utah. They found two dinosaurs. Neither matched a previously classified dinosaur species, although both are closely related to the Triceratops. Because they each had unique differences, they were determined not to be Triceratops.

Both were uncovered at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The monument is a hot spot for many discoveries of dinosaurs in the past decade. It is now a very rocky terrain, but secular scientists believe that it was very swampy several million years ago when dinosaurs were thought to have roamed the earth. Like the Triceratops, they are one of the ceratopsids, which means they are four-legged herbivores.

One of these two discoveries was the Kosmoceratops richardsoni, probably the most ornate dinosaur ever discovered. It has fifteen horns on its head. Ten of these horns form a frill much like that of a Triceratops. Their horns point downward and out. The Kosmoceratops is believed to weigh about 2.5 tons and be 15 feet long. Their horns range from six inches to a foot long.

The other discovery was the Utahceratops gettyi. It only has five horns on its head, one horn that sticks straight up from the nose and two more near the eyes that stick out like a bison's horn. The Utahceratops are slightly larger than the Kosmoceratops. Its head was about seven feet long and stood about six feet tall. The body was nearly 18 to 22 feet long and is believed to have weighed around 3 to 4 tons. The horns are about the same length as its cousins, the Kosmoceratops.

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They believe that the horns on these dinosaurs were similar to the antlers on deer. Some believe they were used to attract sexual mates and intimidate competitors. They believe this because the horns would have made inferior weapons. If paleontologists are correct about the horns' purpose, then the horns probably did not begin to develop until around puberty to show that they were mature enough to mate.

Fortunately, these are not the only dinosaurs uncovered in America or worldwide. Dinosaurs range from as small as a mouse to much bigger than any land animal today. Some believe that they roamed the Earth millions of years ago, although there is some record of Dinosaur-like creatures in historical texts, which causes the question to arise, when did they truly become extinct.

Amazing Horned Dinosaurs Discovered


© 2010 Angela Michelle Schultz


Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on November 09, 2012:

will do!

samowhamo on November 09, 2012:

Hi angela you can call me Sam. If you are interested in dinosaurs, paleontology, reptiles, and herpetology check out my hubpage.

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on December 23, 2010:

I will, thanks so much for the encouragement Pearldiver!!! :)

Rob Welsh from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time. on December 23, 2010:

Excellent hub, thanks for this as I had always wondered where in the States they had found the species that you mentioned here. I found many arrowheads when I was in the US and had a day digging around, looking for Columbus! My best find though was in NZ when I found an old fossil and married her - before I realized that those horns were real and.. well.. as you said in this hub.. it was thought that they were used in mating! Phew... I was lucky! I escaped and thought fishing might be safer! You have a great Christmas and come back and share your talents again next year.. Take Care.

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on October 02, 2010:

I think you had said that before. I find your ex husband's job fascinating. I wish I could do something like that.

Garnetbird on October 01, 2010:

Nice Hub/well researched. My ex husband uncovered a wholly Mammoth in Holmes Co., Ohio about 15 years ago. It's wonderful to find these creatures.

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on September 29, 2010:

Interesting. That's actually really cool. :) Thanks for sharing!

bayoulady from Northern Louisiana,USA on September 28, 2010:

COCKROACHES....EEEwwwww..I DO NOt want to do a hub. but here is part of a lesson plan from Discovery education:


1. Begin the lesson by asking students if they know of any animals that have been living on Earth since the time of the dinosaurs. Once you’ve discussed several examples, write the following animals on the board:

Coelacanths (a prehistoric fish, pronounced SEE luh canth)


Horseshoe crabs


2. Discuss with students how long ago each of these animals first appeared. The coelacanth lived 410 million years ago; cockroach, 350 million years ago; horseshoe crab, 250 million years ago; and crocodile, 200 million years ago. Point out that these animals lived at the same time as the dinosaurs, yet unlike the dinosaurs, they have survived. Tell students that scientists are still debating why these animals have survived .

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on September 28, 2010:

LOL, I giggled at your corny joke. I totally dug that joke. ;) I am curious about the cockroach, maybe there's a hub hidden somewhere in there. :) I wonder how we could find out if it is a human bone?

tom hellert from home on September 28, 2010:


greaat job as a geologist/paleontologist type i really "dug" this hub yes a descendant of the cockroach was around then it was bigger cuz it was in Texas - just kidding- depending on where you live and where she found it it may have been a human bone-- eeewwww

good luck with the bone...

great hub


Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on September 28, 2010:

Really? I did not know that. Interesting!

bayoulady from Northern Louisiana,USA on September 27, 2010:

Too bad the cockroaches are only something that used to be. I've been told that cockroaches have been around since the dinos.

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on September 27, 2010:

Mentalist acer, That is actually a hilarious thought. Although would we be the ones they are hunting or fishing. LOL or would we be hunting them?

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on September 27, 2010:

Dahoglund, that is so cool. My daughter found a fossil, it looked like an ankle bone. I almost wondered if it was human. It was very old though. I find fossils, and especially dinosaur fossils very fascinating!

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on September 27, 2010:

DRBJ LOL, that is so true. :) I find dinosaurs so incredibly fascinating. I wonder if dinosaurs were shy creatures or aggressive or what? There's so much we will never know about them.

Mentalist acer from A Voice in your Mind! on September 27, 2010:

If the cause of the extinction of the dinosaurs hadn't occurred,we likly would'nt be here,but if we did,the local hunting and fishing show would definitely have higher ratings angela_michelle,Lol;)

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on September 27, 2010:

Prehistory should be better understood than it is.When I was young aneighbor pointed out fossils in our won backyards due to an ancient glacier that pushed things to where we lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on September 27, 2010:

Today we are scared by swine flu, mad cow disease and avian-borne viruses. But these threats seem insignificant when compared to the threat of going outside our cave dwelling in prehistoric times and being attacked by a many-horned creature weighing three or four tons.

Thanks for the dinosaur update, a_m.

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on September 27, 2010:

Thank you very much!

Apostle Jack from Atlanta Ga on September 27, 2010:

Very interesting.

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