Western North America is famous for its dinosaur fossils. Many of these come from the San Juan Basin of northwestern New Mexico. Most of these specimens were collected in the early part of the 20th century and the resulting specimens were shipped to Museums far from New Mexico. However, since the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science opened in 1986, newly discovered specimens have been found and kept within the state.
Dr. Thomas Williamson, Curator of Paleontology, has led a productive campaign to collect Late Cretaceous dinosaurs from the badlands of the San Juan Basin since 1994. In 1997, a volunteer researcher, Paul Sealey, found an interesting site during a weekend fossil exploration fieldtrip to the Bisti/De-na-zin Wilderness Area. Paul Sealey has a long history of working with Museum curators to recover fossils. Dr. Williamson had previously named a primitive relative of the alligator after Paul, Brachychampsa sealeyi, based on one of his earlier discoveries.