Bears Ears in the News: No Bones About It Edition


The policies and actions of the Trump administration on a number of fronts have struck many as beyond the pale. Normally apolitical parties have come out of the woodwork and onto the front lines of battles over pollution, extractive-industry activity, and scientific research, to name a few.

In December 2017, the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology joined Native American tribes, conservation organizations, outdoor recreation companies, and others in suing the Trump administration over its reduction of Bears Ears National Monument. The Bears Ears region, it turns out, is a treasure trove of fossils dating back to the Triassic period, more than 200 million years ago. The scientists at SVP had hoped to gain both protection for the landscape and crucial funding for research, which scientists working in other regions have reaped after monument designation.

This Science piece takes an in-depth look at how paleontologists are racing against time to find, document, and protect fossils in areas cut from the original monument by President Trump before mining companies and off-road vehicles further endanger them. Well worth a read.