Coelophysis Quarry

Coelophysis Quarry (HM1F8Q)

Location: Gallina, NM 87017 Rio Arriba County
Country: United States of America

36° 20.243', 106° 27.846'

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Ghost Ranch

In 1881 David Baldwin discovered small fossilized bones on what is now Ghost Ranch. He mailed the bones to paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope in Philadelphia. Cope had been through the area in the late 1870s and had urged Baldwin to explore and see what he could collect. In 1889 Cope named the little dinosaur Coelophysis bauri after Georg Baur, a German morphologist. (Coelophysis means "hollow form," referring to the lightly constructed bones.)

In June 1947, a field crew led by Edwin H. Colbert from the American Museum of Natural History in New York stopped at Ghost Ranch on their way to Petrified Forest National Monument in Arizona. They knew that Baldwin and other paleontologists had discovered fossils in the area. They soon found fragments of fossilized bone that they recognized were from the small dinosaur, Coelophysis.

Hoping to find a partial skeleton, Colbert and his crew carefully dug into the hillside. Instead of a partial skeleton they found a dense bone bed of hundreds of preserved skeletons. Because the skeletons overlapped each other, they had to excavate the fossils in large blocks of rock. They encased 13 blocks in plaster field jackets, each of which contained numerous whole and partial skeletons.

In 1981 and 1982, field crews from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, and other institutions, collected 15 large blocks from the quarry. In 1983 another large block was excavated by the New Mexico Museum of Natural History. The last block was excavated in 1985 and is on display at the Ruth Hall Museum at Ghost Ranch.

(sidebar) Did You Know? 1976 - Ghost Ranch's Coelophysis Quarry was designated a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service. 1981 -The New Mexico State Legislature named Coelophysis the New Mexico State Fossil beating out Brontosaurus. 1998 - Coelophysis was the second dinosaur in space when it traveled on NASA's Endeavor Space Shuttle. A Coelophysis skull, quarried at Ghost Ranch, was sent to space by the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. It left Earth on January 22 and returned on January 31.
HM NumberHM1F8Q
Additional InformationThis marker is approximately 60 miles north of Santa Fe, NM
Historical Period19th Century, 20th Century
Historical PlaceNational Natural Landmark
Marker TypeOther
Placed ByThis project was made possible by a grant from the National Park Foundation through the generous support of ARAMARK and the Yawkey Foundation, the Fernandez Pave the Way Foundation, and The History Channel. Partners were The Army Corps of Engineers, Ghost Ranch Youth Service Corps, and Willie Picaro. Trail construction was done by the Chimayo Conservation Corps
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, October 19th, 2014 at 10:56am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
Directions InformationUS-84 W/N about 60 miles to 1708. Turn right onto 1708.
Location DescriptionThis marker is on the Ghost Ranch's Box Canyon hiking trail. Before you can view the marker, you will need to check in and pay a small admission fee at the Welcome Center.
UTM (WGS84 Datum)13S E 368604 N 4022365
Decimal Degrees36.33738333, -106.46410000
Degrees and Decimal Minutes 36° 20.243', 106° 27.846'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds36° 20' 14.58" N, 106° 27' 50.76" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)505
Closest Postal AddressAt or near Loop Trail, Gallina NM 87017, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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