New dinosaur species discovered near Las Vegas at the Valley of Fire park
“Is this something we’ve seen before?” We asked Dr. Josh Bonde. He grinned. “No, this is going to be something new.”
Bonde is understandably excited. Rock and bone cover desks and shelves at the Las Vegas Natural History Museum. The ones we are looking at are 100,000,000-years-old. Bonde is confident that after they submit their findings for peer review these bones will officially belong to a new species of dinosaur. He believes it’s a duck-billed dinosaur, fifteen to twenty feet long.
The first unique dinosaur to come from Nevada. Like many great discoveries, this one happened by chance. UNLV students stopped for a sandwich.
“We called it ‘Frankies death march site," Bonde told us. “Because one of the research associates death marched a bunch of students a few miles in and when they stopped to rest there were bones poking out of the hill.”
Those bones were sticking out of the sandstone, mother nature begging those students to find them. That was 2008 and today the hard work continues. Bones are carefully exposed from the rock. Piece by piece, Nevada history uncovered in the basement of the museum.
And there’s more. In a container, just feet away are more bones from another dinosaur. That one is from the middle of the state and could also be a never before seen species.
“The way we go find this stuff is like old-timey prospecting,” Bonde said. “We just wander over hills and look. What if we didn’t go over that hill. What if it was three feet to the left.”
You can watch researchers expose those bones in person at the Natural History Museum.