Deinosuchus Skull to Tour Utah Schools
Students at a number of schools in the U.S. state of Utah are being given the opportunity to get up close to one of the state’s ancient predators as the Bureau of Land Management has arranged for the skull of a giant, extinct crocodile to visit schools as part of a touring science outreach programme.
The cast of the giant, Late Cretaceous crocodilian Deinosuchus is due to visit a number of schools in Utah, as the fossil from which this replica was cast was found at the nearby Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This site is world famous for its excellent dinosaur body and trace fossils. The skull, representing a 12-metre plus crocodile that lived alongside duck-billed dinosaurs and the tyrannosaurs, indicates that Deinosuchus lurked in the swamps, rivers and lakes that once covered this part of the western United States.
The skull is part of a travelling exhibit assembled by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, showcasing some of the amazing fossil discoveries found around the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The skull of this “predator of predators” will tour a number of schools before taking up permanent residency at the new Utah Museum of Natural History (Salt Lake City).
Commenting on the skull, Bureau of Land Management palaeontologist Alan Titus, stated:
“It [Deinosuchus] was the biggest and baddest predator of its day.”
He went onto add, that thanks to the presence of volcanic ash in the rock deposit associated with the skull material scientists were able to estimate the age of the fossil – around 75 million years old (Campanian faunal stage).
To read more about the giant crocodile Deinosuchus and how a study of coprolite (fossil poo) is helping scientists to learn more about the diet of this large predator: Ancient Crocodile Poo Provides Evidence of Deinosuchus Diet.
Everything Dinosaur team members also take fossils and other artefacts to schools, either as part of a dinosaur workshop or as part of other outreach science activities such as teaching about fossils in primary schools.