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Dino artifacts at U. museum

The laid-out skeleton of a new dinosaur and the first dinosaur of another type to be collected in Utah are among the treasures visitors to the Utah Museum of Natural History will see Saturday during the annual "What's in Your Basement?" event.

During the open house, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., for the normal admission price, the public can "wander the back rooms of the museum and see thousands of artifacts and talk with collection staff," said spokeswoman Patti Carpenter.

The fully laid-out dinosaur is the Falcarius utahensis, a species new to science until it was shown to the public in a press conference last May. Researchers say the animal is a transition between the predatory Velociraptors and a vegetarian type.

Since May, Carpenter added, "museum scientists have recovered more bones, even those belonging to a baby, that provide more information."

The first prosauropod dinosaur collected from the Navajo formation of southeastern Utah will be on display. It's one of the most complete specimens collected from North America, and a lab volunteer worked for a year to remove hard sandstone in which it was embedded.

"The preparation revealed that this specimen consisted of articulated feet, hands, hip and vertebral (backbone) column," Carpenter said.

But bones dating back eons are far from the only items in the museum's collection, which number more than a million. Beautiful cradle boards made by Indian tribes from across the country will be shown for the first time.

Several of the boards are doll-size, Carpenter said, as they were used "to begin training the young in their traditions."