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Dinosaur vertebrae discovered near Mitchell

Rare 103-Million year old specimen unearthed

MITCHELL, Ore. (July 2, 2021) – A University of Oregon sponsored dig found an intact dinosaur vertebra at a popular rockhounding site last Thursday. Researchers think it belongs to one of only two fossilized dinosaur specimens ever found in Oregon.

The UO team, led by fossil dig foreman Greg Carr, found the 103-million-year-old specimen on Bureau of Land Management land four miles northwest of Mitchell. The dig site is near where UO professor Dr. Gregory Retallack found Oregon’s first confirmed dinosaur fossil in 2015. Since then, several more fossil specimens have been discovered by amateur paleontologists associated with North America Research Group, a nonprofit organization that promotes public interest in paleontology. 

Carr said that the ornithopod vertebra was found by a family member visiting the dig site that had never been on any kind of fossil dig in her life. 

“We set her to work moving some loose dirt,” Carr said. “And as she was shoveling into a bucket, this bone pops out. It was just great.” 

While it is legal to collect common invertebrate fossils on BLM land, it’s illegal to collect vertebrate fossils such as the dinosaur bone found on the dig, according to the BLM. If someone finds a vertebrate fossil, Carr said, they should contact the UO paleontology department. 

The University of Oregon is expected to release more information about the discovery in the next few weeks. 



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