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Dinosaur sites give visitors a peek backward in time

Sep 2, 2012 - By The Associated Press

By Susan Lockhrt

Northern Wyoming Daily News

TEN SLEEP (AP) -- A trip to walk with the dinosaurs was a summer highlight for 7-year-old Max Sharpe and his dad, Chad, the assistant principal at Natrona County High School in Casper.

Recently, local history buff Fran Scranton took the pair on a trip to the Dana Quarry and the Dinosaur Track Site near Ten Sleep.

Chad Sharp said he won the trip from the Worland/Ten Sleep Visit-or's Council. Scranton said he acted as tour guide on behalf of Washakie Museum, a member of the visitor's council.

"Max and I just had a blast," he said. "I was a physics teacher for eight years so science is a language I've spoken most of my life."

Sharp tells the Northern Wyoming Daily News that it was the first time either he or his son experienced Wyoming's ancient history in such an up-close and personal manner.

"It's just absolutely amazing to get to see the things that are in that beautiful basin and the geologic history and paleontologic history as well.

"I'm raising my son and my daughter to think for themselves and to look at evidence and make decisions based on what they see.

"The more experiences you can give to kids when they are young, the better off they are as adults to be good thinkers."

Scranton said the trip began with a stop at the Sundance Form-ation west of Ten Sleep where they came across a deer skeleton that provided some lessons for young Max in how dinosaur bones can become separated and scattered so that you do not always get a full skeleton.

Scranton said they also found an ant hill that had small ancient shells that they bagged for Max to look through later.

At Dana Quarry, a private excavation site north of Ten Sleep, Gael Summer showed the Sharpes how the bones of some pretty spectacular dinosaurs are being unearthed.

Scranton explained that Dana Quarry is being excavated by teams of professional paleontologists from Dinosauria International.

He added that several large dinosaur remains have already been pulled from the site and sold to museums around the world.

The Sharpes also visited the Dinosaur Track Site on Alkali Road south of Ten Sleep where Max got to compare his footprint to that of the ancient monsters that once roamed the area.

"We did some simple science," Scranton said.

"If you take the heel-to-toe measurement of a bipedal dinosaur, then take that times five, that tells you the hip height of the dinosaur that made the track."

After the visit to the excavation and track sites, the group returned to Worland for a trip through the displays at Washakie Museum.

"This was an incredibly unique situation," Chad said of the trip to the basin.

"I happen to have friends who work in the field and a brother who is an evolutionary biologist and so this is a language I speak fairly well. It was just so unique to be there."

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