Reporting Alex DeMetrick
LAUREL, Md. (WJZ) — There’s a silver lining to all that rain from Tropical Storm Lee and it’s over 100 million years old.
Alex DeMetrick reports the storm uncovered a dinosaur bone in Prince George’s County.
“It appears like a limb bone, an arm bone or a leg bone,” said fossil hunter Dave Hacker.
Hacker knew where to look and when. Just after Tropical Storm Lee left Maryland, the runoff that scoured away roads also carried away clay in an open space in Laurel. Appropriately enough, it’s also Prince George’s County’s Dinosaur Park.
“Dinosaur bones and fossils have been found here since the 1850s, when this was an iron mine,” said Donald Creveling, Parks & Recreation.
Experts from the Smithsonian were brought in to dig out the bone. Used to working alone, they had plenty of company Wednesday. A bone this big is unusual at Dinosaur Park.
“Sometimes these limb bones act as a logjam and catch other stuff. There’s a fracture here; we can look at this in cross-section and see that it has bone texture to it. There wouldn’t be mammals this big, so it must be some kind of dinosaur,” said Steve Jabo, Smithsonian.
In this park, you don’t have to be an expert to find dinosaur bones. Children have done it.
“A young man did find a fragment of a jaw bone from a meat eater and we had a young lady, nine years old, who found the vertebrae of a raptor,” Creveling said.
“It looks like it might be a sauropod. Maybe the Maryland state dinosaur, astrodon. Astrodons probably got to be as much as 60 to 70 feet long,” Hacker said.
Experts will make that call later, once the bone is packed in plaster and removed from its 112 million year old grave.
Dinosaur Park is open to the public two days a week. Information can be found at Prince George’s County’s Parks and Recreation Department.