Record-breaking Apatosaurus femur receives national attention
Since the largest Apatosaurus femur ever found was extracted last week in Mesa County, Fruita’s Dinosaur Journey Museum finds itself at the center of a flurry of news coverage. Most recently CNN picked up a local news segment produced by Grand Junction-based KKCO NBC 11. Watch the video on CNN here.
The 6-foot-7-inch long, 2,800-pound Apatosaurus femur was extracted last Thursday, July 17, after five seasons of excavation. It was discovered two miles east of the Colorado-Utah border at Mygatt-Moore quarry in Rabbit Valley.
According to Dinosaur Journey Museum curator of paleontology Julia McHugh, the femur is a groundbreaking discovery because it belonged to a beast likely 80-90 feet long, which is 15-25 feet longer than average. The dinosaur ordinarily grew up to 69 feet long and ate plants.
According to the National Park Service, “You may have heard [Apatosaurus] referred to by its scientifically incorrect name, Brontosaurus. This sauropod (long-necked dinosaur) was discovered and named Apatosaurus, or ‘false lizard,’ because of its unbelievably large size. After Apatosaurus was named, other sauropod specimens were named Brontosaurus. It was later determined that both names actually referred to the same animal, Apatosaurus.”
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Over 75,000 hikers visited Hanging Lake during this year’s peak season. Via signage, the city hopes to point more of those hikers also in the direction of downtown Glenwood Springs.