Pittsburgh U. gets fossil-rich land

January 25, 2006

A Wyoming cattle rancher has donated about 4,700 acres of his dinosaur-bone rich Wyoming ranch to the University of Pittsburgh.

Allen Cook, a philanthropist who has never been to Pittsburgh and has no ties to the university, has designated a $7 million portion of his 120,000-acre Wheatland, Wyo., cattle ranch as an educational site for the university, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Wednesday.

In a partnership involving the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Wyoming and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, educators and students will be able to analyze its geology, archeology and landscape and paleontologists will be able to examine the dinosaur fossils.

The ranch is near the spot where, in 1899, researchers from the Carnegie Museum discovered the nearly complete skeleton of Diplodocus carnegii, which is now the centerpiece of the museum's dinosaur collection.

The land is famed for its Mesozoic marine animal fossils, mid-Jurassic period remnants and the discovery of Deinonychus -- the talon-toed dinosaurs made famous as "raptors" in the film "Jurassic Park."

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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