This unique site was discovered more than 17 years ago by Kenneth Tanner, the landowner, a farmer and geologist. The quarry was named in memory of Dana E. Tanner, son of Kenneth and Paula Tanner. The scope and importance of the location was not appreciated until the summer of 2006, when the Dinosauria International team started proper excavation and documentation. These recent activities have revealed a spectacular fossil locality, preserving an enormous assemblage of mostly excellent articulated Dinosaur skeletons.
The Dana Quarry site is located near the small and picturesque village of Ten Sleep, at the western edge of the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming, where ancient sand and mudstone deposits form the Morrison Formation, dating back to the late Jurassic Period, approximately 150 million years ago.
In this relatively small quarry, over a dozen individual skeletons have so far been discovered, representing a variety of species, including predator and prey, both large and small. These virtually complete and exquisitely preserved skeletons tell a dramatic story.
The Dana Quarry site was a natural trap, where herbivorous species, mostly sauropods, perished together in a shrinking water hole, possibly during a drought. The weak and dying were caught in the mud long enough to attract the attention of predators, which in turn were trapped while feeding on “easy pickings”. The Dana Quarry therefore preserves animals that lived and died, in one and the same environment, like a snapshot in time.
The Dana Quarry site has proven to be exceptionally productive, and with crews continuing to work the area, the next important discovery could be hiding under the next rock. The skeletons are some of the best ever discovered for their species and are exquisitely preserved, making them ideal for exhibition. Owing to their completeness and excellent state of preservation, these specimens represent significant paleontological contributions: the research potential for the Dana Quarry dinosaurs is thus enormous.