The importance of a new archeological site in St George, Utah, U.S. was recently highlighted by Andrew Milner, Paleontologist, City of St. George, Jim Kirkland, State Paleontologist and Sidney Ash, Paleo-botanists. The site is significant because it is the only early Jurassic land flora known in the western United States. It provides evidence that a variety of land plants were present in the area about 200 million years ago.
The site was originally studied and written about in 2006, after a developer found the plant fossils while excavating the land for an industrial park. Now, developers along with scientists are working together to preserve the fossils. "This plant site is extremely important to help us examine further the vegetation recovery of plant life during the mass extinction at the end of the Triassic epoch," states Jim Kirkland, Utah State Paleontologist.
Staff from the City of St. George and the State of Utah, along with developers Bob Anderson, Kastle Rock Excavation, and the Wadman Corporation, who are developing the Office Park at Dinosaur Crossing, are working together in hopes of finding more evidence of plant fossils.
The excavation marks importance by showing that there was a mass extinction that occurred in the late Triassic, where many competing organisms went extinct. This set the stage for dinosaurs to become the dominant land animals on earth. Abundant plant life thrived around the early Jurassic lake known as Lake Dixie, 198 million years ago.
Dinosaur tracks were discovered in the same area in February 2000 at Johnson Farm.
"The developers have all been wonderfully supportive and helpful to us in our efforts to help find more pieces of the puzzle to help us study the environment of that time," states Anneli M. Segura, Museum Coordinator.
Universities and institutions from across the country are interested in carrying portions from this collection at their organizations. Some of these include: the University of Utah, Brigham Young University, the Smithsonian, the Museum of Natural History in New York, the University of California Berkeley, the University of Wyoming and the University of Kansas.
Materials provided by St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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