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BLM -- THE ORIGINAL JURASSIC PLAYGROUND

 WASHINGTON, June 4 /PRNewswire/ -- As the American public focuses on a new movie about dinosaurs, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is making movie-goers aware that it manages the world's largest known paleontological resources.
 The BLM is working with Michael Crichton, the author of "Jurassic Park," and with Universal Studios to develop a series of public service announcements (PSAs) concerning the search for dinosaur bones and fossils.
 According to BLM Director Jim Baca: "Few Americans realize that dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus rex, Allosaurus, Brontosaurus, and Stegosaurus have all been found on BLM lands. These PSAs will familiarize the American people with their paleontological legacy and encourage them to preserve these invaluable resources for future generations to study and enjoy."
 The real Jurassic story can be found in remote Western areas such as the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry in Utah, the Garden Park Fossil Area near Canon City, Colo., and Greybull, Wyo. For example, in Utah, the BLM's Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry has yielded nearly 10,000 bones representing at least 14 species of animals from the Jurassic Period. Discoveries from the Cleveland-Lloyd Quarry have been the basis for more public exhibits than any other dinosaur quarry in the world, contributing specimens to more than 40 museums in 19 states and eight foreign countries.
 In Colorado, the BLM's work at Garden Park has yielded the most complete and articulated Stegosaurus ever discovered and only the second Stegosaurus skull ever found. The BLM is collaborating with the Garden Park Paleontological Society to develop a museum and visitor center at "Stegosaurus Gulch" near Canon City.
 In Wyoming, the BLM, cooperating with the University of Wyoming and the Museum of the Rockies, recovered the most complete skeleton to date of an Allosaurus.
 Other paleontological discoveries include excavation work in Southwestern Wyoming, producing some of the most complete skeletons of the lemur-like primate Notharctus, of the Middle Eocene Period (50 million years ago). Paleobotanists recently uncovered the remains of a 70-million-year-old plant community. Fossils found preserved in volcanic ash include ferns, palms and more than 100 new species of flowering plants.
 In New Mexico, the BLM has established the Fossil Forest Research Natural Area, which represents an unusual assemblage of in-situ tree stumps, isolated logs and associated vertebrate and invertebrate fossils from the Cretaceous Period (a time period occurring from 135 million years ago until the extinction of the dinosaurs about 64 million years ago). In the BLM's Las Cruces District, the Paleozoic Trackways have yielded spectacular fossilized trackways (fossilized footprints) of amphibians, reptiles and insects from 280 million years ago -- the Early Permian Period.
 Paleontological studies of ancient and extinct plants and animals on public lands have provided more vertebrate paleontological specimens for museums than any other source in the world. Moreover, nine National Natural Landmarks (NNLs) and many other special areas are managed and protected by the BLM for their unique paleontological values.
 The legacies of the Jurassic Period (a time period from 200-135 million years ago) have been left to the American people in the form of fossils, the traces of ancient animals and plants. Since life began, the remains of animals, plants and other organisms have been entombed in sediments and preserved in rocks deep within the earth. Over millions of years, these fossil-bearing rocks are gradually uplifted and exposed to view by the natural processes shaping our own physical environment.
 "The BLM's mission is to facilitate paleontological research through the permitting process so that responsible organizations can carefully explore for rare vertebrate fossils, such as fish or dinosaur bones," said Baca. "These permits serve as a vehicle for sharing information between the researchers and the land managers. This scientific research is important to the BLM's environmental studies and land use planning efforts," stated Baca.
 Volunteers form the backbone of many cooperative projects on the public lands and significantly expand the BLM's capabilities in the areas of resource inventory and protection. The public lands offer excellent opportunities for the study of paleontology, and some fossils are available in limited amounts for hobby collecting. For more information about these exciting paleontological opportunities, as well as the rules governing use of these important resources, contact the nearest BLM Office, or write: BLM Headquarters, Public Affairs, 1849 C Street N.W., Suite 5600, Washington, D.C. 20240.
 -0- 6/4/93
 /NOTE: Please contact the local BLM Office for information on opportunities for visiting paleontological sites on the nation's public lands./
 /CONTACT: Bob Johns or Michelle Dawson, both of the Bureau of Land Management, 202-208-5717/


CO: Bureau of Land Management ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:

IH-TW -- DC001 -- 5322 06/04/93 09:02 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 4, 1993
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