A Walk Through Time
As you enter Dinosaur Park you take a walk through time from the present day into Dinosaur times! Modern plants and trees give way to ginkgoes and ferns reminiscent of the early plants and tree that are fossilized here in the clay deposits. Dinosaur Park is a cooperative project between The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and Jackson-Shaw, developer of the The Brick Yard. This joint project has enabled us to preserve these valuable fossil deposits for scientific studies and public education programs.
Large chunks of siderite (ironstone) recall the days of iron mining when the first dinosaur fossils were found here, and crushed brick paving recalls the role clay deposits played in the local brick making industry.
Fossil Plants at Dinosaur Park
Dinosaur Park is not only important because of its collection of dinosaur bones it is equally important for its collection of fossilized plants. During most of the time that dinosaurs lived flowering plants (angiosperms) did not exist. However, during the Cretaceous Period (144 to 65 million years ago), when the fossil bearing clay layers were forming here at Dinosaur Park, some of the earliest flowering plants appear in the fossil record.
Almost ninety percent of the plants we see today are flowering plants. the dinosaurs however, saw a completely different view. The plant world of Dinosaur Park consisted of cypress-like trees, medium sized tree ferns, ginkgoes, cycad-like plants, low ferns, mosses, horsetails and clubmosses.
If you were standing here 100 million years ago you would see forest and swamps with a variety of shades of green and some browns. The forest floor would be completely carpeted with plants, and the swampy areas may have had some water lily-like plants. Rivers and streams slowly flowed along meandering paths to the ocean. Though today the plants are different, the environment during dinosaur times was similar to that of southern Louisiana today.