D.C.'s Youngest Fossil Hunter

Local Dino Park yields quick results

By Chris Needham
|  Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009  |  Updated 3:16 PM EDT
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D.C.'s Youngest Fossil Hunter

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OK, so she didn't find one of these, but let's see what you can do there, buster.

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Oh, sure.  You laughed a little bit when you read a few weeks back that Maryland had created its own little dinosaur park.  You made Jurassic Park references and imagined T. Rex wandering around munching on people in Greenbelt.  Or you pictured giant painted green statues left over from some roadside attraction from the '50s.

But a local 9-year old girl, Gabrielle Block, is having the last laugh.  She snatched up a 100-million-year-old tailbone out of the Dino Park last week, reports the Post.

"The site, which sits behind an office park at the end of Mid-Atlantic Boulevard near Contee Road, has been producing fossils since the 1850s, forming what experts call the most important dinosaur site east of the Mississippi River. In 2005, an amateur explorer found a two-foot dinosaur leg bone."

Her discovery is the first notable one since the park began opening to the public earlier this month.  On the first and third Saturday of the month, the gates swing open, and amateur paleos can root around in the dirt and mud, looking for the next reptile species.

A local paleontologist, David Hacker, who assists with the site told the Sun, "It's a big deal in that this little girl, who has never hunted for fossils before, found something. I didn't find my first vertebra out there for several years."

Now before you worry about the young Ms. Block taking the bone home, extracting DNA and cloning some giant beast, don't worry.  They took the bone from her and gave it to the Smithsonian.

Wait, they took the bone from the girl? Booo!

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