ST. MARYS — What was to be a routine bridge replacement project has turned into a historic find for the city of St. Marys.
Excavation crews working on the High Street bridge project unearthed what have been determined as fossils belonging to a dinosaur. Fossil experts were called in shortly after the find Monday afternoon and determined the fossils are the remains of a velociraptor — one of the dinosaurs featured in the blockbuster movie “Jurassic Park.”
“This, indeed, is a marvelous and historic find for the city,” said Max Power, director of the Federal Organization of Observing Land. “Where we are standing, one of the mightiest predators of our planet once stood.”
Power, who is an expert in dinosaur fossils, said the fossils indicate the area was once inhabited by the large reptiles. After digging at the site — which has been secured and cleared — Power said he found several large leg bones and part of a skull.
“Given the age and the fact that they were buried for so long, the fossils are in remarkable shape,” Power told The Evening Leader. “These fossils definitely put the city on the map and will make a great addition to any museum in the world. To find fossils from a velociraptor in this shape — that’s akin to winning the lottery.”
Dr. Mantis Toboggan, a retired college professor who specializes in dinosaur fossils, confirmed the find. Toboggan, who has extensively researched the migration and habitat of velociraptors for decades, called the find “one for the record books.”
“It’s been about 20 years since the last velociraptor fossils were found in northern Canada,” Toboggan said as he held the remains of the mighty predator.
“These are simply stunning. Just imagine, when this beast was alive, that it was among the quintessential predators of its time.”
Adult velociraptors measured up to 7 feet long and up to 1.5 feet high. They weighed up to 33 pounds and had sharp claws. The animals were fast and were skilled hunters.
“This find is truly remarkable,” Toboggan said. “This predator had everything it could have needed — cover with the woods, fertile hunting grounds and a nice water supply with the river nearby.”
The find has attracted the attention of the Dinosaur Institute of America. Institute President Duke Silver said he hopes to restore the fossils and display them for the world to see.
“These fossils are something the entire world will enjoy,” Silver said. “We all have a fascination with dinosaurs, starting out as kids. To think that one of those creatures roamed the grounds here, in St. Marys, is astonishing. This is definitely a find for the ages.”
Silver discouraged the public from digging for additional fossils because sonar technology was used and there are no more bones to be found. The fossils from the St. Marys find are in the process of being restored and are in a secure location. For more information or to view the fossils, call 419-555-FOOL.
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