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Scientists turn to crowdfunding to continue research on Utah’s own dinosaur

Nicknamed "MOAB", the 9 ton "mother of all blocks" in its plaster jacket in 2014. Picture: Gofundme page

UTAH — A paleontology team has turned to crowdfunding to continue their research after cuts stalled their project for several years.

Dr. Jim Kirkland, State Paleontologist of Utah, said the bones were actually found back in 2004 but it took years for scientists to realize just how monumental they were.

Dr. Jim Kirkland, who named Utahraptor. Picture: Gofundme page

“This was the first site ever found where we have a mass of dinosaurs that we can attribute their deaths to quicksand,” Kirkland said, adding that the bones became even more important when they realized they likely had the remains of an entire family of Utahraptors hidden inside the stone.

A baby Utahraptor bone.
Picture: gofundme page

“Certainly this is the single most important fossil block I have collected in my career,” Kirkland said.

Nicknamed “MOAB”, the 9 ton “mother of all blocks” in its plaster jacket in 2014. Picture: Gofundme page

State funding dropped out when oil prices in the area declined, and Kirkland said the situation was made worse when TV networks that had underwritten projects in the past turned to other programming.

After waiting years for the funding to come back, Kirkland and Scott Madsen, the lead preparator on the project, decided to turn to the public for help. They’ve created a gofundme account explaining their project and offering up exclusive details about the research in a blog only donors can access.

Gofundme page: