UTAH (KTVX) – A rare skeleton, potentially representing a new species, has been found in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park. Paleontologists from the neighboring Petrified Forest National Park were part of a team that collected the Permian-aged skeleton in the backcountry of Canyonlands. They estimated the skeleton is roughly 290 million years old.
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The specimen was in the bottom of a slick rock wash and was threatened by erosion with every monsoon rainstorm hitting the canyon, paleontologists said. The Petrified Forest National Park shared the below photos of the specimen and the recovery process.
Following a 13-mile roundtrip hike, the specimen was recovered. It will now be cleaned, prepared, and CT-scanned for further research. Eventually, it will be curated as a specimen in the National Park Service’s fossil collections to be available for museum exhibits and research.
The National History Museum of Utah, the University of Southern California, and Canyonlands National Park helped to collect the rare skeleton.
Canyonlands, Utah’s largest national park, is located in the southeastern part of the state. The Green and Colorado rivers slice the park into three distinct sections named Island in the Sky, The Needles and The Maze.