Learning More About Dinosaurs

Digging Up Fossils

What is a dig site?

A dig site is a localized area where numerous fossil remains are found and excavated by paleontologists. For example, if a herd of dinosaurs drowned while crossing a flood-swollen river, their bodies could have been deposited in a bend of the river. From there, their bodies would have been covered with mud, and fossilization would have taken place. Millions of years later, if a fossil collector discovered a few exposed fossils—and subsequent exploratory digging uncovered a large amount of fossils—then the area would become an active dig site.

A site where excavation is currently ongoing (or was worked in the past) is generally referred to as a quarry; after all, you are digging into the rock similar to a rock quarry collecting rock for commercial purposes, such as limestone or marble. Many times these quarries are named after the collectors who first found the fossil remains, such as the Mygatt-Moore Dinosaur Quarry near the Colorado and Utah borders; others are named after nearby towns.


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