Why Don’t We Find Dinosaur Bones Everywhere?


A conspiracy theorist recently asked, “If dinosaurs actually existed, wouldn’t their bones be everywhere?”

This question has gained some attention online, prompting a fun and informative answer.

First off, dinosaur fossils have been discovered on every continent, though they are not evenly spread out.

This uneven distribution isn’t due to some strange plot to plant bones in specific locations like Montana.

Instead, it’s because fossilization is a rare process that only happens under specific conditions.

How Fossils Form

When an animal dies, it needs to be quickly buried by sediment to become fossilized.

Over time, more layers of sediment cover it, and the pressure turns these layers into sedimentary rock.

Minerals then seep into the bones, transforming them into stone.

Since this process requires sediment buildup, most fossils we find are from animals that lived near water, such as lakes or rivers.

Dinosaurs that died above ground usually didn’t fossilize.

“Most of the dinosaur fossils we find are from animals that were living near to a lake or river,” says Dr. David Button, a dinosaur researcher at the Natural History Museum.

“Some died shortly before the area flooded and covered their remains in mud and silt.

Others were washed into a river by heavy rain.”

Why We Don’t Find Fossils Everywhere

It would be fantastic to find dinosaur fossils everywhere, but due to how fossils are formed, many species remain undiscovered.

Fossils are less likely to form in jungles or mountains, which means many dinosaurs from these environments are unknown to us.

A 2006 study estimated that around 71 percent of dinosaurs are still undiscovered.

Some mountainous dinosaurs could have been swept into riverbeds and fossilized, but this is uncommon, so we know little about their unique adaptations.

Karen Poole, a paleontologist at the New York Institute of Technology, explains that animals in certain environments may have had lowland relatives, but some specialized species likely never became fossils.

In Summary

Dinosaur fossils are found all over the world, but only under the right conditions.

While we might wish to discover dinosaurs everywhere, the process of fossilization is rare and specific.

So, while the bones aren’t everywhere, the evidence we do have is significant and widespread.