Dinosaur Discoveries in North America

Early Dinosaur History in the United States

Where and what is Como Bluff?

Como Bluff is a long, east–west oriented ridge located in southern Wyoming. It is also the site of a famous Jurassic dinosaur fossil bed excavated during the great “Bone Wars” of the late 1800s. It was discovered by two employees of the Union Pacific Railway, W.E. Carlin and Bill Reed, as a new rail line was being built through the general area. They secretly contacted Othniel Charles Marsh (1831–1899), trying to sell him some gigantic bones. Marsh subsequently sent his assistant S.W. Williston (1851–1918) to investigate the situation. Williston informed Marsh that the bones “extend for seven miles and are by the ton…. The bones are very thick, well preserved, and easy to get out.” Because of Williston’s words, Marsh hired Carlin and Reed to work the beds exclusively for him and to send the fossil bones back to Yale University. From samples of bones uncovered at Como Bluff, Marsh named the dinosaurs Stegosaurus, Allosaurus, Nanosaurus, Camptosaurus, and Brontosaurus (now known to be the same animal as Apatosaurus). Excavations at Como Bluff were discontinued after 1889.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Dinosaur Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App