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Dinosaur Sighting: Crocosaurus

It looks more like an alligator doing a dinosaur impression, but there is something unmistakably dinosaurian about it

smithsonian.com

A roadside dinosaur in Jensen, Utah. Photo by author.

While driving along Interstate 40 toward eastern Utah’s Dinosaur National Monument, you can’t miss the roadside dinosaurs. They’re all over the place. Many are concentrated in Vernal, about a 20-minute drive to the west of the national park, but a few stand near the highway in the small town of Jensen. One of my favorites is this fellow—an old, cracked dinosaur that could probably be called “Crocosaurus.” The thing looks more like an alligator doing a dinosaur impression than a real dinosaur, yet there is something unmistakably dinosaurian about it. I’ve been wondering about why this should be. Is it just the upright posture, or is there something else that clearly makes the model a dinosaur? As crude as it is, this restoration always makes me think about what—in the cultural realm, at least—makes a dinosaur.

Have you seen a prehistoric creature in an unusual place? Submissions of dinosaurs—and other ancient beasts—should be sent to dinosaursightings@gmail.com.

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About Brian Switek
Brian Switek

Brian Switek is a freelance science writer specializing in evolution, paleontology, and natural history. He writes regularly for National Geographic's Phenomena blog as Laelaps.

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