It is rare to find dinosaur bones in San Diego County since California was under the ocean during the time that dinosaurs lived on land. Thus the only way to get a dinosaur in California's sedimentary rocks was to have a dinosaur's body washed out to sea in a flood event.
Bones have been found in four places in San Diego County:
- Carlsbad, at a Koll Construction site near Palomar Airport:
- 1983, a femur (thigh bone) of a duck-billed hadrosaur.
- 1986, 13 tail vertebrae
- Carlsbad (location not reported): 1987, 40% of the skeleton of a nodosaur, the only nodosaur found west of New Mexico. The skeleton includes pelvic bones, back legs, incomplete front legs, ribs, dermal bony armor, and teeth. The dinosaur probably was 13' in length.
- La Jolla, a sea cliff near the Marine Room restaurant: 1967, a partial back vertebra of a hadrosaur.
- Sunset Cliffs: 1989, a hadrosaur jaw bone fragment.
All of these fossils are in the Point Loma Formation, 72-76 million years old, and are in the San Diego Museum of Natural History.
Sources: The Rise And Fall of San Diego, Patrick L. Abbott, 1999, pp. 52-54; SDUT 3/4/00, B9.
Copyright © 2000 by Tom Chester.
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Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Updated 4 March 2000.