Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
Ed Yeates reporting On spring break weekends, St. George has a reputation as a pretty wild place. But you should have seen it 200 million years ago!
It was an amazing gathering place for all kinds of dinosaurs and other prehistoric beasts -- even sharks. A recent discovery is bolstering St. George as a modern day dinosaur capital.
Just when experts thought people down here had overturned the last stone, more keep popping up, like another 140 slabs now stacked alongside the older ones.
Sheldon Johnson / Overturned the First Stone: "THEY WERE JUST ASTOUNDED TO SEE THAT MANY AND THE QUALITY, YOU KNOW, YOU CAN SEE THE SCALES EVEN, THE SHAPES, THE KNUCKLES OF THE FEET AND THE CLAWS."
Dinosaurs, fish, plants, even prehistoric worms and eels - their pathways forever embedded in rock after rock after rock. This now has become one of the most remarkable sites in the world.
ED YEATES, SCIENCE SPECIALIST: "THIS IS THE ST. GEORGE AREA 2003. POPULATION, APPROXIMATELY 60,000 PEOPLE. BUT LET'S STEP BACK 200- TO 205 MILLION YEARS AGO. THIS IS WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE."
Artist Robert Milner captures a time when dinosaurs and crocodiles migrated to a huge lake covering 40 miles to feed on stranded fish.
Andrew Milner / Paleontologist, City of St. George: "WE HAVE IDENTIFIED 16 DINOSAUR TRACK LAYERS AND WE'VE ALSO TRACED THE MAIN DINOSAUR TRACK SITE - MAIN TRACK LAYER ALL THE WAY ACROSS ST. GEORGE."
MILNER: "WE CAN'T BELIEVE THE SIZE OF THE AREA THAT WE'RE FINDING THESE SWIM TRACKS."
Hundreds of toe and claw prints from two types of meat eating dinosaurs - forever frozen in time.
MILNER: "HE'S PROBABLY SLICING THROUGH THE MUD - HIS TOE - THEN HE STOPS AND PULLS IT OUT."
Even skin impressions, left behind on toe pads and heels.
MILNER: "EVEN DOWN BETWEEN THE TOES, BEAUTIFUL DETAIL AND SKIN IMPRESSIONS. AND THEN ALONG THE SIDES OF THE TOE YOU CAN SEE THESE PARALLEL SCRATCH LINES. THOSE ARE CAUSED BY THE SCALES SCRATCHING THE MUD AS THE DINOSAUR LIFTED HIS FOOT UP OUT OF THE MUD."
A restored tooth might be the oldest know dinosaur remains in Utah. Here, the markings of what could be a new species of a fresh water shark.
Theresa Walker / Dinosaur Track Coordinator: "IT'S PRETTY AMAZING. WHEN YOU START FINDING ONE DISCOVERY AFTER ANOTHER DISCOVERY AFTER ANOTHER DISCOVERY, IT'S HARD TO UNDERSTAND THAT THIS PLACE WAS REALLY SERIOUS DINOSAUR."
But serious dinosaur it is - enough now to propose a new non profit science campus and museum, with full support from St. George and Washington County.
The groundbreaking for that new museum is scheduled this August.