Crews began work last week putting burlap and plaster on the Edmontosaurus dinosaur at the East Jordan Ranch.
This will secure the fossil, so it can be moved by October.
This discovery provides insight into what the skin of these creatures looked like 65 million years ago.
“The inland sea, they call it the Cretaceous Sea,” Alan Dietrich said of the area. “It goes all the way to Canada and covers Kansas, where I live.”
Dietrich lives and breathes dinosaurs, but his latest discovery is unique.
Dietrich estimates that Edmontosaurus measured 35 feet from nose to tip of tail.
The Garfield County Museum has a replica of an Edmontosaurus skull.
But what makes this find so unique is that the skin is fossilized.
Dietrich believes the dinosaur may have been able to change the color of its skin, like a chameleon, from orange to something else, providing protection from predators.
“That’s not a bad thing if you’re 35 to 40 feet tall and have a T. rex looking for you,” Dietrich said. “It was filet mignon. We called this duck ‘Peking duck’. You know that’s the high-quality food, ‘Peking duck’. We do it because kids like to call these dinosaurs ‘edmontosaurs’, duck-billed dinosaurs.”
Eight teeth were also found, believed to be from potential predators called Nanotyrannuses.
This and the skin will provide opportunities to study dinosaurs.
Dietrich has sold dinosaurs to museums in the United States, Europe and Asia.
“We probably rolled it on horseback,” said Bobby Kerr, a rancher who worked the land. “I didn’t know what was there because we’re out here looking for cows.”
The discovery was made near Kerr’s property.
He was helping haul dirt for paleontologists.
“They sit there in 100-degree heat all day with a little pickaxe, scraping and scratching and getting the dirt off,” Kerr said.
It’s a boring and sometimes uncomfortable profession, but Dietrich wouldn’t trade it for anything.
“It’s the beauty of the country and the people,” Dietrich said. “And the mystery of these creatures that lived here millions of years ago.”
(Tags for translation)Alan Dietrich