Near Abiquiu in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico — The American Mountains (Southwest)
—Ghost Ranch —
In June 1947, a field crew led by Edwin H. Colbert from the American Museum of Natural History in New York stopped at Ghost Ranch on their way to Petrified Forest National Monument in Arizona. They knew that Baldwin and other paleontologists had discovered fossils in the area. They soon found fragments of fossilized bone that they recognized were from the small dinosaur, Coelophysis.
Hoping to find a partial skeleton, Colbert and his crew carefully dug into the hillside. Instead of a partial skeleton they found a dense bone bed of hundreds of preserved skeletons. Because the skeletons overlapped each other, they had to excavate the fossils in large blocks of rock. They encased 13 blocks in plaster field jackets, each of which contained numerous whole and partial skeletons.
(sidebar) Did You Know?
• 1976 – Ghost Ranch’s Coelophysis Quarry was designated a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service.
• 1981 –The New Mexico State Legislature named Coelophysis the New Mexico State Fossil beating out Brontosaurus.
• 1998 – Coelophysis was the second dinosaur in space when it traveled on NASA's Endeavor Space Shuttle. A Coelophysis skull, quarried at Ghost Ranch, was sent to space by the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. It left Earth on January 22 and returned on January 31.
(credits) This project was made possible by a grant from the National Park Foundation through the generous support of ARAMARK and the Yawkey Foundation, the Fernandez Pave the Way Foundation, and The History Channel. Partners were The Army Corps of Engineers, Ghost Ranch Youth Service Corps, and Willie Picaro. Trail construction was done by the Chimayo Conservation Corps.
Location. 36° 20.243′ N, 106° 27.846′ W. Marker is near Abiquiu, New Mexico, in Rio Arriba County. Marker can be reached from U.S. 84 at milepost 225 near Local Road 1708. Touch for map. It is on the Box Canyon Trail. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1709A U.S. 84, Abiquiu NM 87510, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 3 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Georgia O’Keeffe (approx. 8.7 miles away); Red Rocks (approx. 8.7 miles away); Abiquiú (approx. 12 miles away).
More about this marker. The marker is on Ghost Ranch’s Box Canyon hiking trail. Park at the Welcome Center to check in and pay admission.
Also see . . . Wikipedia Entry. “Ghost Ranch was located close to the equator 200 million years ago, and had a warm, monsoon-like climate with heavy seasonal precipitation.
“The multitude of specimens deposited so closely together at Ghost Ranch was probably the result of a flash flood, which swept away a large number of Coelophysis and buried them quickly and simultaneously. In fact, it seems that such flooding was commonplace during this period of the Earth’s history and, indeed, the Petrified Forest of nearby Arizona is the result of a preserved log jam of tree (Submitted on July 9, 2014.)
Categories. • Paleontology •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 9, 2014, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 420 times since then and 80 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 9, 2014, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.