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Dinosaur Provincial Park - DPP

Dinosaur Provincial Park - DPP

The large outcrops of the Judith River Group (Late Cretaceous) cover a period of about 77 to 73 million years. They border the Red Deer River in central southern Alberta. There are more whole dinosaurs than in any other part of the world. In 1955, an area of ​​73 km2 of this area was officially demarcated to form the Dinosaur Provincial Park. The region was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979 for its exceptional state of conservation, diversity and abundance of dinosaurs and wildlife. The deep gullies and outcrops of the park's rivers result from erosion associated with the melting of snow and ice from the last glaciation - 12,000 to 14,000 years ago - exposing a series of 125 m thick sedimentary layers of sandstone, silt and mud called dinosaur park formation and dating back to the Upper Cretaceous. The formation of the Dinosaur Park corresponds to an estuary. The presence of many skeletons of dinosaurs probably results from a heap of carcasses transported by floating and blocked in the meanders of the river. Gigantic floods may have killed thousands of dinosaurs, as suggested by the accumulation of impressive amounts of Centrosaurus bones. The origin of the DPP dates back to 1909 when rancher John Wagner told the New York Museum of Natural History (NMHS) that he thought he had dinosaur bones on his property. The following year, Barnum Brown began to search the area. Brown had quickly realized that the dinosaur bones were mostly concentrated in the rocks of the banks of the Red Deer River. He then built a large barge protected by a tarp, so that his team could go down the river and stop to search any new deposit. At the end of each search season, when the cold weather arrived, the researchers would haul the raft to shore and store their discoveries until the next season.

Around 1912, the boundaries of the park were drawn around the deposits. Brown's earliest discoveries were whole skeletons of Gorgosaurus, Corythosaurus, Prosaurolophus, Centrosaurus, and Struthiomimus. The Sternberg family also worked in the park and found skeletons of Albertosaurus and Chasmosaurus with delicate skin prints, as well as perfectly preserved Centrosaurus and Styracosaurus skulls. In the following years, research continued in the park which resulted in the discovery of more than 250 whole dinosaur skeletons, some 36 species, including Struthiomimus, Anchiceratops, Lambeosaurus, Dromaeosaurus, Troodon, Gravitholus, Gryposaurus, Brachylophosaurus, Edmontia, Euoplocephalus and Panoplosaurus, as well as about 300 fossils of animals and plants including 84 species of fish, frogs, salamanders, turtles, lizards, crocodiles, pterosaurs, birds and mammals. The Royal Tyrell Museum established a permanent base within the park in 1987, thus constituting a land study station for the collection of new dinosaur remains. It is also a recreation center, where visitors can see exhibits and find information on the discoveries that have been made there. These deposits contain the horn skeleton of Centrosaurus and that of Daspletosaurus. The dinosaurs found in the park can now be seen and studied in more than 30 institutions.

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