Unveiling of New Dinosaur Exhibit: Fruitadens

This exhibit features a life-size, fleshed-out reconstruction of Fruitadens, one of the smallest adult dinosaurs in the world, found right here in the Grand Valley in 1976 by paleontologist (and Grand Junction resident) George Callison. Tiny adult dinosaurs are rare, and even more rare are plant-eating dinosaurs that weighed less than a house cat. Among the few smallest dinosaurs in the world only one, Fruitadens, was primarily a plant-eater that occasionally also ate insects as a dietary supplement (plants alone don’t have enough calories for a small, high-energy animal); the only other dinosaurs this small ate meat. Fruitadens is a dinosaur of world-wide significance and it was found just outside Fruita. It is a member of a group of dinosaurs called heterodontosaurids, which are known also from Europe and Asia and which have enlarged, canine-like teeth at the fronts of their jaws, despite their diet consisting mostly of plants. Fruitadens is the first heterodontosaurid found in the Morrison Formation, the layer of rock exposed in the Grand Valley and elsewhere that also has yielded skeletons of dinosaurs such as Stegosaurus, Allosaurus, Brachiosaurus and Apatosaurus.

Thanks to an exchange with the Museum of Natural History of Los Angeles County, the Museum of Western Colorado will be the first in the world to display the Fruitadens model. The exhibit explains a little about how we know what we know about the animal and some of the history of the work at the Fruita Paleontological Area, which the Bureau of Land Management co-manages with the Museum of Western Colorado and the City of Fruita.

At the unveiling Dr. George Callison will also be present to talk about the find.

Where: Dinosaur Journey Museum, 550 Jurassic Ct.; Fruita, Colorado

When: Wednesday, February 10 at 11 am

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