Dinosaur Fossil Find Shuts Down MVHS Campus

Everything you need to know about the dinosaur fossils found in the Ag. Farm.

Mission Viejo High School will be closing for a year due to the recently discovered dinosaur bones at the farm.

In early December a Dinosaur fossil was found at Mission, since then there has been a team of paleontologists competing for the opportunity to excavate the site. The paleontologist and the date have been decided as of April 17.

While learning how to properly garden and plant, A freshman was collecting all the interesting rocks he found. He found one that was a strange color and was slightly pointed at one end. He loudly and jokingly exclaimed “Shark tooth!” His teacher, being annoyed with his behavior, took it from him and gasped. Everyone, unsure of what had happened, went silent.

She told him he may have been onto something, that it was not a shark tooth but maybe a dinosaur. The ‘rock’ was sent to a lab at UC Berkeley, where it was confirmed to be a Dinosaur fossil. However, it was unlike any they had seen before. Similar enough to know that it was a dinosaur, but different enough to know that it was not like any dinosaur that had been discovered.

The fossil was definitely from a new species. This new species was named The Stultusaurus – derived from a latin root. It was the first new species of dinosaur found in the last 12 years, the last being in 2010.

After this was confirmed researchers conducted a scan on the ag farm and were able to confirm at least 2 other dinosaurs are buried there, with all the rain recently they will be surfacing themselves slowly. It is incredibly rare for full dinosaur skeletons to be found, usually with floods and change in land, you will only find a partial skeleton.

With this newfound abundance of fossils the best paleontologists will be coming from around the world. Great archaeologist Howard Reginald IV, who has his PhD in Paleontology from Harvard University, and one of his good friends Malik Wasef, a renowned Near Eastern Archaeologist and PhD graduate from The University of Chicago, will be leaving his dig-site in Israel early in order to come to Mission.

Both Reginald and Wasef have discovered and solved several archaeological mysteries. The two of them will be co-leading the excavation along with their teams and some PhD students from Stanford, Harvard, and The University of Chicago.

Excavation of bones can take months because of the delicate brushing process to unearth the fossils and get them safely cleaned, examined and packaged to museums and buyers. For this period of time, we will have to find new education options. Some ideas are online academy and school choice. The online academy will be adding an elective where you can observe the excavation and even the opportunity to sort and clean fossils!

Howard Reginald was asked by critics how he feels about ruining senior year for the class of 2024 he empathetically replied, “ I do really feel bad for them, they missed some of their freshman year to the pandemic, and now this. I wish I could give them their last year of high school, but if we wait we will just be taking away another class’ senior year…I wish we could just stay at the farm but we need room for the labs and trailers that will have to be here, and who knows maybe we will find more fossils by the field or under the buildings.”

Because this is a new species with a full skeleton, a huge quantity of money has been sent to the school from museums and sponsors for the excavation. More money than is needed. So, Reginald and Wasef have decided to donate the money to the class of 2024, they feel bad that the students have to miss their senior year. Wasef when asked why he would donate so much money said,” My senior year was one of the most memorable times in my life: I had so much time to be with the people I loved, I started dating my wife, I got into my dream school and my parents still payed for everything”. Those choosing to go to college from the class of 2024 will have the opportunity to apply for scholarships up to $5,000 each.

When the Dinosaurs are finally excavated the fossils are expected to be presented at The Natural History Museum in LA by 2025. MVHS will keep a skull of one of the dinosaurs and there will be a small display built in the middle of the quad so that future attendees can see and learn all about this amazing discovery right here at Mission Viejo High School.


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Tanya Cramer
Tanya Cramer
Tanya Cramer is the Co-Feature Editor for The Diablo Dispatch. She enjoys traveling, writing, and hikes.

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