Giants of the West
Location: West side of Westin Hotel, north of 104th Avenue, east of Westminster Boulevard.
Artist: Communication Arts, Boulder, Colorado.
Year Installed: 2000.
How Acquired: Funded by the City of Westminster.
Comments: This history panel is located at the base of one of sixteen custom-designed light towers.
Giants of the West
Imagine 69 million years ago this area was a lush land full of palm trees and giant ginger plants. A swamp really, very similar to the modern day bayous of Louisiana.
This swamp was home to several species of dinosaurs including Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops, and Apatosaurus to name a few. Triceratops were a dominant species in the area. The very first Triceratops ever discovered was in the 1880’s. Throughout the twentieth century, several other Triceratops fossils have been found.
During the construction of Coors Field in downtown Denver, a Triceratop fossil was found which led the Colorado Rockies adopting a Triceratops named Dinger as the team’s mascot.
In 1998, the remains of Triceratops were uncovered at Westminster’s Heritage Golf Course at Westmoor. The bones discovered at this site included a significant part of the shield section, a lower jaw with a tooth, the end of a femur, some vertebrae, and pieces of rib. It is rare to find these remains because the species was apparently very tasty to carnivorous dinosaurs such as the T-Rex.
In the past two centuries, many other dinosaur bones have been discovered in the Denver area. In 1996, a tooth of a Tyrannosaurus Rex was found just across 108th Avenue from the Heritage Golf Course at Westmoor as the site was prepared for home building.
The most abundant dinosaurs from Colorado’s past are the giant four footed herbivores that form a group called the Sauropods. Often referred to as the giants of the dinosaur world, the Sauropods were distinguished by their long neck and tail. All members in this suborder were vegetarians. Some of the dinosaurs classified in the group include Diplodocus, Apatosaurus, Brachiosaurus, and Camarasaurus.
These are but a few of the dinosaurs that make up Colorado’s rich past. From the fossils preserved in the land, it is evident at one time the vast open prairie we know today was home to several different species of great dinosaurs.