Day of Bones
On Wednesday, the U.S. celebrates National Fossil Day. Launched in October 2010, the day is organized by the National Park Service to raise awareness of the field of paleontology. Several hundred museum, educational, and institutional partners put on related events around the country, including National Geographic's museum in Washington, D.C.
Fossil lovers can take part by visiting a museum or attending a school program, and the park service also hopes people will get out into the field to visit places rich in fossils, such as Dinosaur National Monument and the Grand Canyon.
"Public lands provide visitors with opportunities to interpret a fossil's ecological context by observing fossils in the same place those animals and plants lived millions of years ago," the National Park Service said in a statement.
Above, technicians at the Colorado Museum of Natural History mount a Diplodocus skeleton in the 1940s. The long-necked sauropod dinosaurs lived in what is now western North America at the end of the Jurassic period, which was 200 million to 145 million years ago. Diplodocus is often considered one of the most recognizable dinosaurs. (See more fossil pictures.)
—By Brian Clark Howard, photo gallery by Kurt Mutchler