Big Al
"Big Al" as depicted in The Ballad Of Big Al.

Catalog number

MOR 693


Allosaurus fragilis


155 Mya - Jurassic

Place discovered

Morrison Formation, Wyoming, United States

Date discovered


Big Al is the name given to a fossilized Allosaurus fragilis skeleton that was found near Howe Quarry (Bighorn County, Wyoming), a member of the Morrison Formation, in 1991. The skeleton was unusually well preserved — over 95 percent of the bones were found — and they were all in the same positions as when the animal had died. It measured about 7.5-8 meters (24-26 feet) in length. Nineteen of the bones showed signs of pathology, and were either broken or showed evidence of infection, which probably contributed to Big Al's death. This completeness of this skeleton gave Big Al its name — the individual itself was below the average size for Allosaurus fragilis, and may have been a subadult or represent a new, smaller species. The specimen was described by Breithaupt in 1996.

In popular cultureEdit

The Big Al skeleton inspired "The Ballad of Big Al", a special program in the BBC's Walking with Dinosaurs series. It recreated how Big Al might have lived, and sustained the injuries seen in its remains.


  • Breithaupt (1996). "The discovery of a nearly complete Allosaurus from the Jurassic Morrison Formation, eastern Bighorn Basin, Wyoming." In Brown, C.E., Kirkwood, S.C., and Miller, T.S. eds. Forty-Seventh Annual Field Conference Guidebook, 309-313. Wyoming Geological Association, Casper.
  • Hanna, R.R. (2002). "Multiple injury and infection in a sub-adult theropod dinosaur (Allosaurus fragilis) with comparisons to allosaur pathology in the Cleveland-Lloyd dinosaur quarry collection." Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 22(1): 76-90.

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