Dinosaur National Monument paleontologist retires after 38 years

National Park Service
​Dan Chure sits beside an apatosaurus vertebra on the "Wall of Bones" in the Carnegie Quarry.
Courtesy photo
Dr. Dan Chure, monument paleontologist, will retire Saturday after 38 years of federal service. Dan arrived at Dinosaur National Monument in 1979 and spent his entire National Park Service career at Dinosaur.
 “As someone with a research interest in dinosaurs and the world they lived in, this is the best place in the NPS, or even the world, to be” Chure said. “The fossil resources here are immense and widespread, extending across the monument far beyond the well-known Wall of Bones within the Quarry Exhibit Hall. Even after many decades of work here, the potential for new discoveries and understanding is incredible and we have really just scratched the surface.”
Throughout his career, Chure had the opportunity to work with institutions, colleagues, students, researchers, volunteers, and Geoscientist-In-Park interns from around the world. These projects resulted in the discovery of astounding fossils, including many species new to science. Although the scientific work has been challenging and rewarding, some of the his most memorable moments were not only about discovery, but being involved in the condemnation, demolition, and rebuilding of the Quarry Exhibit Hall over the Wall of Bones (2006-2011), the launching of the Carnegie Quarry website (2014-2017), and working with Make-A-Wish children who come to see dinosaurs up close.
Though Chure has numerous scientific publications and has made many presentation at scientific meetings across the globe, he reflects that some of his most satisfying moments came from interactions with visitors, especially children. “Talking to a 5-year-old about dinosaurs and seeing the gleam in the eyes, and a big grin is not just satisfying, it’s like looking into a mirror,” Chure said.

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