The mystery of Genevieve: the Golden Dinosaur from the depths of the London Mine

The legend of “Genevieve”, a fossilised dinosaur not only made of stone — but also of gold — began on 3 July 1932. That was the day WK Jewett, owner of the London Mine near Alma in Colorado, stopped at the Antlers Hotel in Colorado Springs and made the official announcement of its unearthing. The story was picked up by the news services and word of the fantastic find spread through the scientific world like a prairie fire.

The golden dinosaur was discovered by William White, 700 feet (213m) underground — deep in the London Mine (WK Jewett, 1932). Curiously, the miners had been using the creature’s nose as a lamp holder, not realising there was a ‘dinosaur’ (if that is what it was) there. White, a hard rock miner, believed at first he was looking at two stumps. In reality, it was a dinosaur lying on its back with its limbs at an angle of 75 degrees. Eager to retrieve it from its rocky tomb, miners blasted it out of rock at the 700-foot level of the London Mine with dynamite. The blast shattered the specimen. Bits and pieces of the dinosaur were hoisted to the surface, where curious crowds gathered to see the prehistoric monster.

As the story goes, a geology professor at Colorado College, Robert Landon, travelled to Alma so he could examine Genevieve – an extraordinary record of a former world. The measurements he made revealed that the animal was 18 feet (5.4m) long and 6.5 (2m) feet high (WK Jewett, 1932). The creature had a long neck that supported a small head. It also had a long tail.


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