Washington gets it first dino Burke Museum Paleontologists, Brandon Peecook, left, and Dr. Christian Sidor, right, the first to identify a bone found by a Burke Museum research team on the shores of Sucia Island State Park, discuss the fossil (AP photos)
Washington gets it first dino
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Scientists say they've discovered Washington state's first dinosaur fossil. The announcement marks a unique find for the state. Its a rare moment for North America's Pacific coast.

Paleontologists at Seattle's Burke Museum said that the bone fragment is 80 million years old. It probably belonged to an older, smaller cousin of the Tyrannosaurus rex.

Dinosaur fossils are particularly rare along this side of the continent. Isolated skeletons and bones have been discovered at about only 10 sites near the shoreline.

Scientists think Earth's continents have shifted since dinosaurs roamed 240 million to 66 million years ago. They theorize that the area could have been underwater or otherwise uninhabitable.

Washington state's first dinosaur comes a little more than a year after a 16,000-year-old mammoth tusk was found at a Seattle construction site.

The bone fragment was uncovered at Sucia Island State Park. That is on the San Juan Islands. It comes from the late Cretaceous period. The findings were detailed online in the science journal PLOS ONE.

Researchers have been examining the nearly 17-inch-long, 9-inch-wide fragment for about three years. They say it probably came from a 3-foot thigh bone.

Scientists haven't been able to identify what specific dinosaur the fossil comes from. It's just a fragment. But they're certain it belonged to a theropod. That's a group of two-legged carnivores.

The creature probably died on land. Then it likely washed out to sea. There, it took a beating, scientists say. The fragment was the only fossil uncovered at the site.

"This fossil won't win a beauty contest," Christian Sidor said in a statement. He is the Burke paleontologist who co-wrote the journal article. "But fortunately it preserves enough anatomy that we were able to compare it to other dinosaurs and be confident of its identification."

Critical thinking challenge: Why are fossils rare along this side of the continent?

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COMMENTS (97)
  • CarsonP-2
    5/28/2015 - 08:03 p.m.

    Scientist discover dinosaur fossils in Washington. This is the first ever evidence in Washington to be found. Scientists haven't been able to identify what specific dinosaur the fossil comes from. So it could be a new dinosaur never discovered yet.

  • LucasU-5
    5/28/2015 - 08:25 p.m.

    The article is about an extremely rare find discovered in Wahington that marked the end a very long fossil drought on the Pacific Coast. The fossil was of some kind of two-legged dinosaur related to the extremely popular t rex.This was the first discovery since a mammoth tusk was discovered in a construction sight in Seattle.

  • BeckettN-2
    5/28/2015 - 09:04 p.m.

    This article is about the first ever dinosaur fossil found in Washington. Scientists theorize that the reason so few fossils are found on the west coast is that it might have been uninhabitable during prehistoric times. I think its pretty cool we've been able to find any fossils on the west coast.

  • AnnalisaP-1
    5/28/2015 - 09:05 p.m.

    Washington state has discovered their first dinosaur fossil. Paleontologists at Seattle's Burke Museum said the fossil is eighty million years old. This is rare for North America's Pacific coast. They think its an older, smaller cousin of the T-Rex. Dinosaur fossils normally aren't found on this side of the continent. 240 to sixty-six million years ago, dinosaurs roamed Earth, and scientists think that Earth's continents have shifted since then. "This fossil won't win a beauty contest," Christian Sidor said. I think that more dinosaur fossils will be uncovered eventually in Washington state, we just have to keep looking.

  • DylanM-4
    5/28/2015 - 09:42 p.m.

    Washington state found its first dinosaur fossil ever there. This is monumental moment because there aren't very many dinosaurs on the pacific coast of North America. It is thought by many scientists that this part could have been under water, or just uninhabitable. The bone found was a fragment from a two legged carnivore. This is a cool thing because it's always nice to see back into the past of the land you live on.

  • joellep1
    5/28/2015 - 09:43 p.m.

    Scientists say they've found Washington state's first dinosaur fossil. Paleontologist a day that it is nearly 80 million years old. And that it probably belonged to a smaller version of a t-Rex. Dinosaur fossils are rare along this side of the continent. Bones and skeletons have only been spotted about 10 times in this area. I think this is s very exciting find for Washington and very cool.

  • aidan2459
    5/28/2015 - 09:46 p.m.

    This article is about Washington finding its first Dino. It was a historical and unique find for the state. They say the this rare item is a little over 80 million years old.The bone is 17 inches long and 9 inches wide. they said it probably came from a six foot high bone. That is a really old dino.

  • aidan2459
    5/28/2015 - 09:46 p.m.

    This article is about Washington finding its first Dino. It was a historical and unique find for the state. They say the this rare item is a little over 80 million years old.The bone is 17 inches long and 9 inches wide. they said it probably came from a six foot high bone. That is a really old dino.

  • kevik-4
    5/28/2015 - 10:23 p.m.

    In this section it talks about how these bones were found in Washington. The bones were found in Seattle Washington on a construction site. This is a very rare thing in Washington to find a dinosaur bone in. The article says that it was probably a older Tyrannosaurs Rex but it was a smaller cousin of it. I think it is kind of cool that that bone was found in Washington. When that fossil comes on display at a museum I would want to go see it on display.

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    5/28/2015 - 10:58 p.m.

    I think that it is cool for one of the people to find the first dinosaur bone off the coast shoreline of the Washington state which is the United states, but I think that it is cool because now that people in the Washington state found a older cousin of a T-rex. Well if Washington found a dinosaur bone for the first time, I think that more of the dinosaur bone should be uncovered from the ground.

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