From the earliest days of dinosaur hunting in the mid 1800s

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From the earliest days of dinosaur hunting in the mid-1800s, these predatory dinosaurs, especially those from the Triassic, have constituted the most cherished discoveries of any field expedition. The reason is simple—they are quite rare. (life size dinosaur)Over six seasons in the field digging for dinosaurs, I have personally seen only one predator skull, one battered predator backbone, and one predator claw. On average, in the Jurassic beds, one can’t expect more than one Allosaurus skeleton at most per ten brontosaurs. (dinosaur factory)This scarcity of predator remains is especially acute for the dawn of the Age of Dinosaurs, the end of the Triassic and beginning of the Jurassic. For over a hundred years paleontologists sought predator skeletons from this earliest epoch with disappointing results.

 

But two great discoveries during the last thirty years have provided us with a wonderful glimpse of the first predatory dinosaurs. The first was the grandest of all: not just one perfect skull, nor one complete skeleton, but a whole quarry filled with the complete and partial skeletons of one Late Triassic species, all preserved in the red mudstone of Ghost Ranch, New Mexico. (animatronic dinosaur costume)Ned Colbert of the American Museum made this discovery, and under his direction the museum technicians have erected quite beautiful displays of these predators and have sent excellent casts of them to dozens of institutions throughout the international community of scholars.

 

Colbert had stumbled upon a most unusual prize: a predator trap, a pocket of mudstone that formed in a peculiar locale where predators had huddled together in death. Predator traps constitute one of the most puzzling enigmas in paleontology. (lifelike dinosaur for sale)What would have attracted meat-eaters to one small spot a few hundred yards wide, and what had killed and buried them there?