A new Dinosaur “bone bed” was discovered at Prince George’s County Dinosaur Park in Laurel. This is the first major Dinosaur bone discovery in Maryland since 1887!
The term “bone bed” describes when “bones of one or more species are concentrated within a geologic layer.” Paleontologist JP Hodnett initially discovered the 3-foot long shin bone, which has been determined to be the largest therapod fossil in Eastern North America.
His initial hypothesis of this fossil is an Acrocanthosaurus, the largest theropod in the Early Cretaceous period, estimated to measure about 38 feet long.
Rachel Duncan from WBALTV notes that the discovery started back in 2014 when the bone was accidentally discovered after knocking a chip of rock away, exposing it. It wasn’t until recently that paleontologists were able to expose the rest of the bone and announce the discovery.
This is a major discovery for Maryland as Dinosaur fossils are extremely rare to find on the east coast, and ones from this time period have only ever been found here.
It is certainly the most significant collection of dinosaur bones discovered along the eastern seaboard in the last hundred years,” said Matthew Carrano, a paleontologist with the Smithsonian.
The Dinosaur Park is part of the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission. The Department of Parks and Recreation provides educational experiences for visitors, including community digs with staff.
Fossils found at the park are 115 million years old (Early Cretaceous period), occurring approximately 50 million years before the Tyrannosaurus Rex.
The next steps for the fossils will be to excavate, clean, examine, and catalog them in the department’s system.
Please see Parks and Recreation M-N C P P C for the fascinating details.
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