FRUITA, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- The biggest discoveries can be made by the unlikeliest of scientists, like a volunteer sifting through desert rocks.
Paleontologists at Dinosaur Journey say that's exactly how the oldest known fossil found in Utah was unearthed.
We got a sneak peek at the hip bone of the dinosaur.
Rob Gay says a little more than 10 years ago, a group outing turned up the fossil that's more than 200 million years old. To put that into perspective, that means the fossil is from the very beginning of dinosaur time.
"And then we looked at this fossil, specifically and compared it to known dinosaurs from Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, and of course across the American West at this same time period. And we found it shares a lot of characteristics with a group of early predatory dinosaurs called Neotherapods," said Rob Gay, Paleontologist, Colorado Canyons Association.
When it was alive the dinosaur would have been about nine to 12 feet long and stood waist high at its head and had pointy teeth. Gay says it would have been like a prehistoric coyote.
The fossil isn't on display right now.