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Utah's First State Paleontologist, James H. Madsen, Passes Away at Age 77


James H. Madsen
SVP Honorary Membership conferred in 1998

Salt Lake City, Utah—Utah’s first state paleontologist, James H. Madsen passed away on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2009 at the age of 77.  Madsen paved the way for paleontologists to come with his research on carnivorous dinosaurs, such as Allosaurus.

Madsen under the direction of Lee Stokes, helped develop the Bureau of Land Management’s Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry in Price, Utah, which was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1967.  Madsen was responsible for overseeing the excavation of the quarry and spent much of his career collecting and preparing dinosaur bones from Cleveland Lloyd.

The Utah state fossil, Allosaurus, was originally suggested by Jim Madsen. In 1988 a bill was passed by the state legislature making Madsen’s idea official.

“Jim was one of the last living great pioneers of paleontology in the state of Utah, he will truly be missed,” said Scott Foss, Regional Paleontologist for the Bureau of Land Management.

Madsen founded a scholarship at the University of Utah’s Museum of Natural History to support students who researched collections excavated from the Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry.

“If it wasn’t for James Madsen, there wouldn’t be a Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry,” said James Kirkland Utah State Paleontologist. “A big chunk of my job is to continue what he started.”

“The Bureau of Land Management, Utah would like to thank James Madsen for his dedication, passion and wealth of knowledge,” Foss added. “The Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry is a valuable resource that will continue to provide an enormous amount of scientific data and history that will teach generations for years to come.”

From: U.S. Department of the Interior
Bureau of Land Management News Release
Utah State Office
For more information on the Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, please visit:

Obituary and photos courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management (12/02/09).

Read the tribute to James (Jim) Madsen, Jr. by Mike Nelson, Colorado Springs, CO


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