Colo. teacher finds rare dinosaur skull fragment
April 12, 2010
GRAND JUNCTION – A high school science teacher with a hobby for dinosaurs has discovered what federal authorities say could be the first skull fragment from a rare dinosaur.
Kent Hups, a teacher from Westminster, discovered the fossil in the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area in western Colorado.
Tests are pending, but the Bureau of Land Management said Saturday that the fragment appears to be the first from an armadillo-like dinosaur called the Ankylosaurid. The bone fragment is embedded in a rock weighing more than 100 pounds.
“I was an inch away, and I was looking in the area for 16 years. It’s about being in the right place at the right time,” Hups told The (Grand Junction) Daily Sentinel. “If we can confirm what it is, it will be very amazing.”
Hups digs for dinosaur fossils under a BLM paleontological use permit. The teacher has findings displayed in two Colorado science museums. In 2008, Hups found a perfectly preserved footprint of an Ankylosaurid.
Hups said if the skull fragment is confirmed as an Ankylosaurid, it would be the first fossil of its kind from that dinosaur.
The fossil will be brought to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science for analysis.
Fossil hunting brings many to western Colorado, and Grand Junction tourism officials are hoping the find sparks new interest in bone hunting.
“To have this kind of find is wonderful for us,” said Barbara Bowman of Grand Junction’s Visitor and Convention Bureau.