Paleontologist works to preserve Petrified Forest in southern N.M.

Staff Report

The Associated Press

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) - The Robledo Mountains in southern New Mexico has a reputation as one of the world's most important landscapes of pre-dinosaur fossil trackways.

That reputation likely will be enhanced by another discovery -- petrified wood slowly emerging from the desert floor.

Jerry MacDonald is an amateur paleontologist who discovered the fossil trackways in the late 1980s and more recently found dozens of locations with petrified wood.

He tells the Albuquerque Journal in a copyright story today that he believes time and erosion are causing an ancient forest to emerge from the ground.

He and others are hopeful that the latest find will generate momentum in Congress to pass legislation to carve out a 5,300-acre portion of the southern Robledos as a national monument.