SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The bones of a giant reptile will be headed to Salt Lake City next week from the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument for further study at the University of Utah.
University paleontologists found the hadrosaur in 2001 on a ridge in what is known as the Blues area, deep inside the southern Utah monument.
They nicknamed the site "Jodi's Hadrosaur" in honor of volunteer Jodi Vincent, who discovered the bones. The remains will be flown to Salt Lake on Wednesday.
The transport comes amid a series of dinosaur-related activities associated with the museum and the Bureau of Land Management. On Saturday, the BLM was scheduled to conduct a public tour into the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument site where another hadrosaur was discovered last September. Part of that specimen's skull is exposed, and paleontologists will demonstrate how they work to uncover such specimens.
A second public demonstration at the same site is scheduled for Oct. 14.
Mike Getty, the museum's vertebrate paleontology collections manager, said the fossilized remains could represent a new hadrosaur species.
Volunteers and researchers managed to unearth about two-thirds of that skeleton, including most of the tail. They also found parts of the torso, hip, skull and arm bones.
"We have no legs," Getty said. "Maybe something tore them off and ate them."
Most of the laboratory work, which could take up to two years, will focus on preparing the skeleton and documenting the various parts found, Getty said. If the hadrosaur turns out to be a new species, museum researchers will come up with a new name.
"It's one of the most complete ones we've found in the monument," Getty said of the skeleton.
Most of the parts to be shipped to Salt Lake City next week remain in the field covered in plaster. The hadrosaur was split into a dozen pieces, each weighing anywhere from several hundred pounds to more than half a ton.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)