Famous Colorado Ranch Where Allosaurus Fossils Were Discovered Listed for Sale

by Craig Garrett
(Photo by: Jeff Greenberg/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A Colorado ranch where a 12-year-old girl once found an allosaurus skeleton is being sold for the first time in 50 years. The asking price is $15.5 million, the Daily Mail reports.

The Three Springs Ranch is located in Northwest Colorado. It covers roughly 108,277 acres and has a main house, two ranch-staff houses, and two hunting cabins on the premises. In 1979, a then barely teenage India Wood discovered the remains of a massive Allosaurus. An Allosaurus dinosaur resembles a Tyrannosaurus Rex. It was found by Wood while she killing time on a trip to the ranch.

Wood dug up as much of the dinosaur as she could. She named the skeleton Alice. Wood learned to identify her findings from science books. She eventually displayed them at her middle school history fair, and stored 18 of the beast’s bones in her bedroom. That is, until her mother told her room had to be cleared out. She donated the bones she had found to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. She was later hired by them at 16 to excavate the rest of the skeleton. The full set is now displayed in the museum, where people marvel at the sight.

More on the origins of ‘Allosaurus Ranch’

At the age of eight, when her mother’s pal worked as one of its property managers, Barbara Wood spent her summers vacationing at the Three Springs Ranch. In her memoir, The Dinosaur’s Daughter, Wood paints a picture of Beard as “a ranch woman in red lipstick who hated children and loved rocks.” She goes on to write that despite this, Judy Beard was always willing to teach her and her sister how to hunt for fossils.

“When Mom first took us to Sage Springs Judy tried to make my visits as miserable as possible so I wouldn’t come back,” Wood recalled. On one of her lonely forays into the desert hills, she came upon a piece of bone protruding from the ground. “I saw a little piece of bone sticking out of the hillside,” she told The Wall Street Journal, and after hacking through the dirt with some rudimentary tools she came across a hip bone “the size of a turkey platter.”

Storing the allosaurus became an issue

She dug up as much of the skeleton as possible, storing it in her room. When Wood’s mother needed to rent out space in their house, 16-year-old Wood was forced to find a new home for the bones. As a result, she left them at the front desk of the Denver Museum of Science. After Wood dropped the fossils off at the museum, she received a call from the curator of paleontology, Don Lindsey. He confirmed that her discovery was an Allosaurus and said that the museum wanted to take possession of the bones. Wood said they could have them—on one condition: if the museum gave her a job.

Eventually, Wood left Three Springs to join the Peace Corps. However, Alice was put together and is now on display at the Denver Museum of Science. There, she stands next to a plaque that tells Wood’s story as they battle alongside each other with stegosaurus bones.