This is a working quarry where scientists conduct on-going research. There is a large visitor center featuring many exhibits. Visitor facilities are open daily during the summer and Fri-Sun during spring and fall. They close for the season at the end of October and reopen in early March.
Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry is one of the world’s foremost dinosaur fossil sources. More than 12,000 individual bones and one dinosaur egg have come from this prolific fossil bed. It is likely that many “complete skeletons” have been recovered, although it is impossible to state that with certainty because the bones are in a disarticulated state.
Today, at the Visitor Center you can see a complete Allosaur skeletal reconstruction and a Stegosaur wall mount. At the quarry you can view the work in progress in a covered building, where you can see actual bones in place. Recognized worldwide as the primary source of fossilized bones from the flesh-eating Allosaur, the quarry was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1966.
University of Utah scientists began studies in 1929. Princeton University did extensive work, financed by Malcomb Lloyd, in 1939-41 to obtain a museum exhibit. Because of the proximity to Cleveland, Utah, it became known as the Cleveland-Lloyd Quarry.
In 1960 the University of Utah commenced a 5-year project with several cooperating schools and museums including Brigham Young University and the College of Eastern Utah. Dr. William Lee Stokes was in charge of this ambitious project with assistance from James H. Madsen, Jr. In 2001, the University of Utah resumed investigations into the deposit. The focus this time around is more on trying to figure out what happened to produce such a magnificent collection rather than on just collecting more museum specimens.
Over the years, bones have been taken from the quarry representing at least 70 different animals and 11 species. Cast and original skeletons assembled from these bones are on display in over 60 museums world-wide, including the College of Eastern Utah’s Prehistoric Museum in Price.
Many theories have been proposed over the years to explain this mysterious deposit. Everything from river deposit to lake deposit to swampy bog to something involving earthquakes has been brought forward and dismissed by serious scientists. The latest theory produced by the U of U’s recent work invokes a scenario of a watering hole in a drought-stricken land. While very promising, this theory too, has a few holes in it that may mean it isn’t what really happened. But whatever did happen, the bones are there and have been for 147 million years. Covered by terrestrial deposits such as floodplain material, river channel, lake deposits, and volcanic ash for the next 50 million years, an interior seaway covered the area and added the weight of it’s marine mud for another 20 million years. More terrestrial deposits were added for the next 40 million years until finally erosion took over and started to remove all the covering rock.
The bones are now close enough to the surface to be recovered by scientific excavations. Two-thirds of the bones uncovered are from Allosaurus, one of the largest carnivore of the Jurassic period. Also present are plant-eating Stegosaurus, Camarasaurus and Camptosaurus. In the mid 1970’s James H. Madsen Jr. described two previously unknown dinosaurs from bones discovered here. These small carnivores were known as Stokesosaurus clevelandi and Marshosaurus bicentesimus.
The quarry is located 30 miles south of Price, Utah, at the end of a graded road. Look for the “dinosaur” signs at road intersections. Room-size boulders scattered about the area create a unique setting for the exhibit buildings, picnic facilities, and the self-guided Rock Walk Nature Trail. The quarry is open weekends; Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays (weather permitting) from early in March until Memorial Day, and daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend. The schedule goes back to weekends-only for September and October. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m except on Sundays when open hours are noon to 5 p.m. For additional information, call the BLM office in Price, Utah at (435) 636-3600.
There is one of the federal government’s “Fee Demonstration Project” sites. There is an entrance fee of $5 per adult. Anyone under 16 gets in free. All of the funds collected stay right at the site and are used for operations and improvements.
Windows To The Past
Please remember, fossilized bones of dinosaurs and other vertebrate animals contain valuable information from the past. When fossils are removed or damaged in any way, much of what they can tell us is lost forever.
We each have a responsibility to help preserve historically significant sites. Dinosaur bones are a rare and non-renewable resource. Anyone discovering these fossils should report their find to the nearest BLM office, or to the Utah Division of State History.
Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry was designated as a National Natural Landmark in 1966 and is protected under the Historic Sites Act of 1935. Please do not collect fossils, rocks, plants, or animals.