The Denver Basin Project

The Denver Basin is a basin east of the Colorado Front Range that contains rocks of Cretaceous through Eocene age

It stretches from Fort Collins in the north to Colorado Springs in the south and Limon in the east. The basin contains the K-T boundary and abundant fossils from the time of the dinosaurs and from life after the extinction. Understanding the paleontology of the Denver Basin right here in Colorado is a major ongoing project by the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. We collaborate with many local land owners, local municipalities, conservation groups, and the Colorado Department of Transportation to access fossil-rich sites along the Front Range. Our work focuses on understanding the paleoclimate of Colorado, the origin of rainforests, the extinction of plants at the K-T boundary and subsequent recovery, the evolution of modern forests, and the uplift history of the Colorado Rockies.

The Denver Basin Collection

The Collection is a suite of approximately 25,000 specimens from Late Cretaceous, Early Paleocene, and Early Eocene strata collected at over 600 salvage sites and natural outcrops since 1991. This collection includes the 64 Ma Castle Rock Rainforest, which numbers nearly 10,000 specimens and represents the oldest known tropical rainforest, and the West Bijou collection, a suite of about 5,000 specimens that records the recovery of forests after the K-T extinction.


Tyler R. Lyson, PhD

Associate Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology

David W. Krause, PhD

Senior Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology

James Hagadorn, PhD

Tim & Kathryn Ryan Curator of Geology

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