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Front Page » May 8, 2007 » Local News » Dino Digs: a New Beginning for Cleveland-lloyd Dinosaur Q...
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Dino Digs: a New Beginning for Cleveland-lloyd Dinosaur Quarry

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Emery High rodeo club hosts their high school rodeo

Wayne Ludington from the BLM listens as Brock Sisson from Lehi tells the process a bone goes through from extraction to display. His dad, Jay Sisson watches his son tell about the process.

The Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry has moved into the future with the recent reopening of the facility which boasts a newly remodeled and expanded visitor center.

A crowd of quarry supporters gathered for a rededication ceremony which was conducted by Roger Bankert, field manager, Price Field Office. "The quarry is a National Landmark and in 1966 the first visitors center for the Bureau of Land Management was opened here. In 1976 the sheds over the bones were built and in 2005 a renovation project of $1.5 million was undertaken and completed in early 2007."

Bankert recognized those who worked on the renovation project. He said Bucky Gates did his masters thesis on the quarry. Jim Madsen did the initial research on the quarry and began the work here at the quarry. Madsen went on to become the state paleontologist. Bankert recognized Emery County for their work on keeping the road to the quarry in such good condition.

Emery County Commissioner Jeff Horrocks said, "The quarry brings people into Emery County. The quarry is unique, Emery County is unique. You just can't beat it. We want people to come and visit and spend money, but we want them to leave the county in good shape. It's a pleasure to work with the BLM. They are people who care about our area."

Horrocks told of efforts by county people in helping to make the quarry better with projects like the cement walkways. This was a public lands day project a few years back.

Jeff Rawson speaks at the program at the quarry. He is the Associate Director of the state office of the BLM. Roger Bankert, BLM Price Field Office Manager; at right conducts the program.

Mark Loewen from the University of Utah gave a brief history of the quarry. He said interest began in dinosaurs in the 1870s when Carnegie began setting up dinosaurs back East. Utah supplied many of these dinosaurs set up. In the 1920s Dinosaur Monument in Vernal was discovered with a skeleton of an Allosaurus. In 1927 Golden York was sent to the Swell to look for dinosaurs and he found what later became known as the Cleveland-Lloyd dinosaur quarry. In 1929 the University of Utah was the first to collect fossils at the Cleveland-Lloyd quarry. One of the local boys, Lee Stokes went to Princeton to become a paleontologist. During 1939-41, Princeton University dug at the quarry. From 1961-65, the University of Utah dug at the site with the help of Jim Madsen.

Thousands of bones have been dug from the quarry and have been sent worldwide. Malcom Lloyd was from Princeton and a benefactor of the quarry. Combined with the name Cleveland, because that was the local town Stokes was from and the name Lloyd from the benefactor, the name Cleveland-Lloyd came into existence.

During the 1980s, Brigham Young University conducted limited excavations. During the 1990s the local college, CEU became involved in digs. Bucky Gates did his thesis on how the bones came to be deposited here. The UofU has been active in digging off and on and as recently as three weeks ago.

Scott Sampson is a Canadian paleontologist who has worked with dinosaurs and their history. "Cleveland-Lloyd is a very old quarry. It was developed when the continents were still joined together. They were just beginning to fragment as this quarry formed. This site is more important than the dinosaur monument. The scientific importance of this quarry outstrips the dinosaur monument in Vernal.

"The mystery about Cleveland-Lloyd is how so many allosaurs came to be deposited here. We don't know why. Cleveland-Lloyd represents a snapshot of the world that we don't know about. It was arid, but productive vegetation grew along the rivers. There were large rivers, but no flowers. Flowers didn't appear until after the dinosaurs were extinct. The trees were large conifers and there is some debate as to where the vegetation was. Why were there so many large animals here? The allosaurs were carnivores along with the plant eaters brontosauraus and cameosauraus. They were deposited in the Morrison formation. We haven't solved these mysteries. We have barely figured anything out. We are conducting science on public lands. I have worked in a number of places where we have recovered new dinosaurs. In the Grand Staircase Escalante Monument they have discovered 10 new dinosaurs.

"We hope Cleveland-Lloyd can be a place of inspiration to get students motivated to pursue science. We want this place to be a place of community. Be really proud of this place in your back yard. It is so important. There are 75 museums worldwide with Cleveland-Lloyd dinosaurs. No other quarry compares. It's important to do science education and keep people interested in the past and where we are headed in the future," said Sampson.

Visitors look at the exposed bones in the quarry building.

Jeff Rawson is the assistant state director for the BLM. He said he is proud of the partnerships that make Cleveland-Lloyd stronger. "Cleveland-Lloyd was the first visitors center for the BLM. We have opened many more visitors centers since 1968 and after 40 years we were able to get the funding to restore this building. The school children can learn the history of dinosaurs and continue the fascination of youth and dinosaurs. This is an open canvas for science research and we look to facilitate the educational opportunities here.

"We are glad to have Jim Madsen here today. He is esteemed worldwide for his work," said Rawson.

At this point in the program, Madsen cut the ribbon to reopen the visitors center. He said, "I was just in the right place at the right time." He thanked all the paleo people for their support of the quarry and encouraged everyone to visit the quarry often.

Bankert thanked everyone for coming to support the reopening and invited everyone to share refreshments.

Mike Leschin, BLM, is the main man at the quarry spending five-seven days a week there. "I'm just really happy today," said Leschin. He also expressed an interest in greater emphasis on the educational aspects of the quarry. "We're moving into the future," said Leschin.

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