1. #1
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    Talking Dinosaurs In PG County?

    I COULD NOT resist.....

    By Jonathan Mummolo Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    Where the wild things were

    Laurel area rich in dinosaur fossils is set aside as a park

    Dave Hacker holds fossils he has found at a 41-acre area now known as Dinosaur Park, just beyond a dead-end street at an office complex. (Juana Arias - Juana Arias/ftwp)

    Michael Styer, left, and Dave Hacker explore the Dinosaur Park in Laurel. The first known dinosaur fossils were found at the site in the 1850s, and teeth were identified in 1858. (Photos By Juana Arias For The Washington Post)

    Hacker holds one of the fossils he has found at the park, which will allow members of the public to hunt for dinosaur remains alongside experts working with the Smithsonian Institution. (Juana Arias - Juana Arias/ftwp)

    More than 65 million years ago, before the continents reached their current configuration -- and ages before industrial parks and shopping centers existed -- a warm and swampy swath of what is now Prince George's County was home to dinosaurs.

    The creatures' remains in the area have endured weather, erosion, tectonic shifts and modern industry. But their chances of being discovered improved Monday, when 41 acres south of Laurel were dedicated as Dinosaur Park.

    "It's the most important dinosaur site east of the Mississippi River," said geologist Peter Kranz, president of the Dinosaur Fund, a Washington-based nonprofit organization that supports dinosaur fossil research and preservation in the region.

    "Each time it rains, something new comes out," Kranz said.

    The park, which the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission oversees, is just beyond a dead-end street at an office park. Although to the untrained eye it could be mistaken for a pile of muddy rocks, the spot has been a veritable fossil factory for more than a century.

    In the 1850s, slaves mining iron pits in the area began unearthing bones. In 1858, geologist Philip Tyson, Maryland's state agricultural chemist, was surveying the area and found teeth in the clay. He took them to a Maryland Academy of Sciences meeting, where they were confirmed as dinosaur teeth -- specifically, those of a massive herbivore eventually named Astrodon johnstoni, now Maryland's official state dinosaur.

    The find touched off more than 150 years of sporadic but prolific fossil discoveries in the area, helping scientists render an increasingly detailed portrait of the lush, diverse environment of Maryland in the Cretaceous period.

    Ensconced in a warm climate similar to southern Louisiana's were long-necked, plant-eating sauropods such as Astrodon, 60 feet long and weighing several tons; predators akin to velociraptors; freshwater sharks, turtles and crocodilian reptiles; and some of the first flowering plants the world ever saw.

    Most of the bones found in the park -- teeth, toes, vertebrae -- represent a small piece of a skeleton, making it difficult to pin them to a specific species, experts said. Still, the range and volume of fossils there makes it one of the most productive sites in the eastern half of the United States, said Matthew Carrano, curator of dinosauria at the National Museum of Natural History.

    The site has been particularly useful for studying the animals' early stages of life, as it has yielded a number of baby dinosaur bones, he said.

    "People have been going back to this site for 150 years," Carrano said. "In more recent years, it's tended to be owned by companies, and, happily, many of them have been very willing to allow scientific exploration. . . . Not only is it important to preserve the site because it contains the potential for ongoing scientific discovery, but also because it's really not appreciated locally that there are dinosaur fossils" in the region.

    The highlight of the park is a fenced-off area of about an acre littered with rocks, the remnants of ancient trees known as lignite and, to the discerning eye, dinosaur bones. That area is part of 7 1/2 acres donated by the surrounding office park's developer, Jackson-Shaw, which also supplied the parking area, gardens and fence. An additional 34 acres were dedicated to the county as part of the approval process for an area development in the 1990s.

    The park recognizes the site's human past, as well. The entrance is flanked by large chunks of ironstone, or siderite, and features crushed brick paving, a reference to the brickyard that operated there for much of the 20th century. Large signs tell of the African American slaves and freedmen who worked in the mines, as well as fossil discoveries that stretch from Tyson's to that of a father and children, who in 1991 found a massive Astrodon thigh bone.

    Members of the public will be able to hunt for the fossilized time capsules alongside experts who will be working at the site and donating fossils to the Smithsonian Institution. The park will offer programs on the first and third Saturday afternoons of each month, and group tours will be available by appointment.

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    55 Years & Still Rolling
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    Talking Yep........

    SOMEHOW, I would expect no less from you..............
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    SOMEHOW, I would expect no less from you..............
    Holy Cow!!!!!!

    The Dinosaurs can type!!!

    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

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    Default

    That's quite the segue ... a bit early but can't resist that opening LOL


    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HARVE!!!!

    Hope you have a great day Monday, filled with the love and laughter of family and friends, good food and maybe an adult bevie or two.
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

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    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

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    Quote Originally Posted by RspctFrmCalgary View Post
    That's quite the segue ... a bit early but can't resist that opening LOL


    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HARVE!!!!

    Hope you have a great day Monday, filled with the love and laughter of family and friends, good food and maybe an adult bevie or two.
    Harve,

    How old, I mean young will you be.

    P.S. I still out front

    Stay Safe and Happy B Day old man!!
    Bull
    Stay Safe
    Bull


    “Guys if you get hurt, we’ll help you. If you get sick we’ll treat you. If you want to bitch and moan, then all I can tell you is to flick the sand out of your slit, suck it up or get the hell out!”
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    Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.
    -WINSTON CHURCHILL

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    Many Happy returns Harve. May you have a 100 more.

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    Harve is still kicking arse and taking names... need we say more?
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Quote Originally Posted by BryanLoader View Post
    Many Happy returns Harve. May you have a 100 more.
    A hundred more what? Centuries?

    Harve you crazy old fart. Hope you and the mrs. had some "fun" with the day.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

    The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

    "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    Harve is still kicking arse and taking names... need we say more?
    He already DID! Mine!


    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!


    And may there be many more to come!

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