Ask a Palaeo!

How long does it take to dig up a dinosaur bone?
By Dr. Matthew Vavrek

The length of time it takes to dig up a dinosaur depends on so many things, and can vary from a few days to decades. For smaller skeletons in soft sediments, the skeleton can often be taken out in just a couple of weeks. However, some dinosaurs are much harder to excavate. For example, Cryolophosaurus, a dinosaur from Antarctica, was first found in 1991, and scientists are still returning to continue digging out the only known skeleton.

It is taking so long because the area is so hard to access and is often too cold to get to, and the fossils themselves are in rocks that are harder than concrete. Also, digging up a dinosaur is only the first step. After the dinosaur is dug …


Ask A Paleo! Where in the world are dinosaurs from?

By Robin Sissons

Dinosaur fossils are found everywhere in the world, from one pole to the other, on every continent, even on a the small Chatham Islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. From Cryolophosaurus and Antarctopelta in the Antarctic, to Pachyrhinosaurus and Nanuqsaurus in the Arctic, and everything in between, dinosaurs are found at all lattitudes. The island of Madagascar brings us Majungasaurus and Masiakasaurus, while Australia boasts Rapator and Muttaburrasaurus. Scores of species are described from China, Mongolia and Japan, while Spinosaurus is commonly found in Egypt, and the first of any described dinosaurs, Iguanodon, Megalosaurus, and Hylaeosaurus, were found in Europe.

South America has the unique long-nosed dromaeosaur group, the unenlagiines, including Austroraptor, while North America has been a treasure trove of dinosaur palaeontology for over a century, with such …


Ask a Palaeo: how long does it take to put a dinosaur skeleton on display?

By Robin Sissons

Once a fossil is found, it can take a long time with many people working on it before it is ready to be put on display. Small fossils can be excavated from the ground in a few days or even a few hours. Larger fossils or skeletons that require more care may require a months-long season, or even multiple years going back to the same quarry to extract.

Once the fossil is removed from the ground, it is transported back to a laboratory where it may take as little as a few hours, or as much as several years to clean up and glue back together. This depends largely on the hardness of the rock around the fossil, and how fragile or durable the fossil itself is.

If the fossil is a complete skeleton, it may be …



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