Tomorrow is the fifth annual National Fossil Day, but Dinosaur Park celebrated a few days early. On Saturday, October 10th, we took part in Fossil Fest at the National Museum of Natural History. Throughout the museum, special displays highlighted a diverse range of fossils, as well as the methods scientists use to discover and interpret them. At the Dinosaur Park booth, visitors could see and touch fossils and fossil replicas of local dinosaurs like Astrodon and Deinonychus. Included in our displays were a number of freshly-prepared discoveries from this past summer. Visitors were astonished to learn that dinosaurs had roamed their own backyards 115 million years ago, and that much of our knowledge about these animals comes from the efforts of young fossil hunters at Dinosaur Park!
Other Fossil Fest participants included the American Geosciences Institute, the National Park Service, and the United States Geological Survey. Visitors of all ages took fossil rubbings, practiced the rigorous process of scientific reconstruction, learned about the evolution of bipedalism in humans, and even earned Junior Paleontologist badges.
Organized by the National Park Service, National Fossil Day promotes public awareness of the fossil record and deep time, while encouraging stewardship of our nation’s fossil resources. Fossils found on public lands are a shared record of ancient life – the ancestors of all living things today – and it is our shared responsibility to understand and preserve that record.
If you missed Fossil Fest this weekend, don’t fret. There will be plenty more National Fossil Day events this week throughout the country – see the official list to find a celebration near you.