This video says about itself:
A visit to a museum in St. George Utah featuring dinosaur tracks.
From Associated Press:
Crews sift St. George soil for plant fossils
October 29, 2008
Paleontologists are sifting through the soil of an excavated lot in search of ancient plants, the only ones from the early Jurassic period found so far in western North America.
The flora fossils date back 198 million years, Utah’s state paleontologist Jim Kirkland said Tuesday. ‘Every plant they’ve identified has been new,’ he said.
The plant material may fill in information gaps about life during a transitional period between the mass extinction of the late Triassic period and the rise of dinosaurs as a dominant species on the landscape, he said.
‘We’re really excited and we’ve got institutions from all over the country interested in material from here,’ Kirkland said in a telephone interview from St. George.
About 15 volunteers were at the site where excavation began last week to clear the way for an office complex with restaurants, shops and office space. The spot is in a bare lot near the Virgin River, not far from the city’s Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm, where dinosaur tracks were found eight years ago.
Andrew Milner, the city’s paleontologist, said the property’s developers have agreed to excavate the privately owned land slowly so crews have time to pick through the dirt in search of hidden fossils.
‘We’ve collected about 150 specimens in the last few days,’ Milner said.
The first plants in the area were found in 2002 when dirt was peeled away to make way for large retail stores. A 2006 study identified them as conifers, ferns and horsetails, which are slender hollow-stemmed plants.
Kirkland said he’s been struck by how many conifer remnants there are, including seeds and some hardened branches with cones still attached.
Milner said different plants from the early Jurassic have been found elsewhere, including along the East Coast.
The fossils are tantalizing clues about what life may have been like near the early Jurassic lake known as Lake Dixie, which once covered stretches of what is now southwestern Utah.
Sudden [Triassic-Jurassic] Collapse In Ancient Biodiversity: Was Global Warming The Culprit? Here.
Utah Lands Win a Reprieve at the Dawn of a Cleaner, Greener Future
For the past several days, America has been swept up by a wave of hope and possibility. It was fitting, therefore, that a federal court acted last weekend to protect more than 110,000 acres of stunning Utah wilderness that otherwise would have been sold by the outgoing Bush administration to the dirty fuels industry.
These pristine lands sit on the boundaries of some of our nation’s most spectacular parks: Arches, Canyonlands, and Dinosaur National Monument. They are redrock icons of American ruggedness. Yet the Bush administration announced in November that it would auction them off to be torn apart by the oil and gas industry, further polluting delicate environments and endangering public health.
My friends at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and their partners quickly filed suit to avert this tragedy, and last Saturday night they succeeded. Judge Ricardo Urbina issued a temporary restraining order that prevents the Bureau of Land Management from moving forward with the contested leases to the oil and gas industry.
What inspired me most was when Judge Urbina wrote that the “development of domestic energy resources… is far outweighed by the public interest in avoiding irreparable damage to public lands and the environment.”
Finally, the greater good has prevailed over the profit of the few. For eight long years, the Bush administration acted not as the steward of our natural heritage, but as the broker of shady land deals. Those days of deep cynicism and self interest are over.
In his inaugural address, President Barack Obama spoke about the responsibility of all Americans to help build a better future for our nation.
I take very seriously my responsibility to help protect the lands I love which belong to all of us, the American people. I have hiked and ridden on horseback through these redrock canyons for decades, and the battle to keep them wild for generations to come always has been deeply personal for me. Destroying our natural heritage will do nothing to solve our energy challenges for the long-term, which to me, is even more reason to act.
I will continue to keep a vigilant watch over these lands, while working to build a cleaner, greener energy foundation for America. With endless untapped reserves of efficiency, solar, and wind power, we do not need to choose between affordable electricity, and one-of-a-kind landscapes. We can have both.
Now that is a greater good worth fighting for.
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