History and geology of the Cope’s Nipple Quarries in Garden Park, Colorado—type locality of giant sauropods in the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation

The discovery in 1877 of what proved to be an extensive multi-taxa bonebed from the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation helped kick-start the first Jurassic “Dinosaur Rush.” Located north of Cañon City, Colorado, the site, known today as Cope’s Nipple within the Garden Park National Natural Landmark, was worked by Oramel and Ira Lucas from 1877 to 1884, again by the Carnegie Museum in 1901, and sporadically by the Denver Museum of Natural History from 1991 to 1996. The history of this work is presented in depth for the first time using extensive archival records. The quarries occur in a single horizon around the base of Cope’s Nipple and represents a widespread bonebed in distal overbank silty mudstone that was subsequently modified by pedogenesis. Limited taphonomic data indicate the bonebed was a mix of allochthonous and autochthonous bone.