9-Year-Old Girl Finds Bone at Maryland Dinosaur Park

Monday, May 2, 2011

"Dinosaur Park" in Prince Georges County, Maryland, has only been open for two weekends, but it's already led to a probable noteworthy find.

The paleontologist in this case wasn't a professor with multiple degrees, but rather a 9-year-old girl who happened upon a small bone that experts believe belonged to a Cretaceous era raptor. The bone measures just about 1/2 inch long. Experts at the park think it was likely a vertebra from a raptor's tail. The dinosaur bones is now on its way to the Smithsonian, where it will undergo further examination.

According to media reports, Gabrielle Block, the fourth-grader who unearthed the bone, was with her budding paleontologist sister, Rachel, and parents. They were sifting through dirt and debris left behind by a recent rain storm when she spotted the fossil. She showed it to her mother, Karin Block, who thought she could see little holes in it, where the marrow might have been.

If the bone is verified, it probably dates to 110 million years ago, when this part of Maryland enjoyed a tropical or sub-tropical climate. Dinosaurs, crocodiles, turtles and fish all flourished under the balmy conditions.

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