Dinosaur bone replicas stolen from Vernal museum

By Michael McFall

The Salt Lake Tribune

Published: April 8, 2013 08:56AM
Updated: April 10, 2013 07:07PM

A pair of replicated dinosaur bones have been stolen from a Vernal museum.

The femur replicas — made of concrete and pumice — belonged to a Diplodocus skeleton that stood outside the Utah Field House of Natural History, at 496 E. Main St., from the 1950s to the mid 1980s. Most of the skeleton eventually went into storage, but the museum buried the two femurs outside under sand so children could play with them.

But when museum employees went to get the femurs on Friday in order to ship the whole skeleton to a museum in Price — they were gone. The bones are about 5 feet long and weigh a few hundred pounds — big enough that no one could have moved them without help, said Steve Sroka, the museum manager.

“We’d like [the femurs] back with no questions asked,” Sroka said. “It could jeopardize the whole move of this dinosaur so that the people of Utah can see it.”

He had no idea why someone would want to steal them.

The skeleton was well known in Vernal during its time, said Ken Carpenter, director of the Prehistoric Museum in Price that was expecting the Diplodocus. He had hoped to give the Utah-native dinosaur a debut at Utah State University Eastern before moving it into the downtown building.

The Prehistoric Museum would have to recast the femurs if they aren’t returned, an unplanned expense and a delay for the Diplodocus’ debut, Carpenter said.

“It’s going to look kind of funny if… the skeleton is standing on no legs,” Carpenter said.

The Vernal museum hasn’t reported the theft to the police yet. Whoever took them can leave them outside the museum’s door or call the museum to arrange the return at 435-789-3799.

mmcfall@sltrib.com

Twitter: @mikeypanda