Armored dinosaurs, rare extinct creatures of the Eocene era 55 million to 35 million years ago, and studies of fossils on Bureau of Land Management property are among the topics to be discussed in a conference of the world's largest organization of experts on fossil animals.

The 58th annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology started Wednesday at Snowbird Resort and is slated to continue through Saturday. Utah State paleontologist David Gillette, who invited the group to Utah, said the society has about 1,800 members internationally."We expect an attendance of somewhere from 800 to 1,000," he said last December, when he was helping to plan the gathering.

Seven field trips are planned. Scientists have the option of visiting:

- Brigham Young University's Earth Science Museum in Provo, then fossil sites along the Wasatch Front and north to Pocatello. This trip also includes a visit to the Idaho State University Museum in Pocatello and the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monuments, Hager-man, Idaho.

- Fort Bridger, Wyo., Utah's Uinta Mountains and Vernal. The group will visit fossil quarries.

- Dinosaur National Monument, Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry in the San Rafael Swell, Fruit Paleontological Site and other quarries in eastern Utah. The group will visit the Prehistoric Museum at the College of Eastern Utah, Price, which has a priceless collection of original dinosaur fossils.

- Green River, Wyo., and Fossil Butte National Monument in that state.

- Dinosaur National Monument and the Utah Field House of Natural History, Vernal.

- The Utah Museum of Natural History at the University of Utah; the Earth Science Museum at BYU, and the Prehistoric Museum at CEU.

- Dinosaur quarries in the San Rafael Swell and near Arches National Park, and then near Grand Junction, Colo.