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Children dig for dinosaur bones at the North Dakota Heritage Center

Published: Feb. 20, 2021 at 6:41 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Millions of years ago when North Dakota was a subtropical climate, dinosaurs walked on the same soil that later become that 39th state. Thousands of those fossils are held in the North Dakota Heritage Center. Saturday, young children experienced what it’s like to dig for history.

Little Kids, Big World is Sarah Fox’s favorite event of the week.

“What do you think? Do they dig with their hands?” asked Fox to a group of children.

Fox enjoys bringing science and history alive at the North Dakota Heritage Center. Her latest project was 80 million years in the making.

“I think I have something,” said Everett Schmaltz

The Schmaltz family was digging this week’s activity. Five-year-old Everett Schmaltz is overjoyed with a discovery.

“Oo, I got a dino, I got a dinosaur face!” exclaimed Everett.

Each month, children like 8-year-old Scarlett Schmaltz, learn about paleontology.

“I like seeing their bones in the museum, kind of like these,” said Scarlett Schmaltz.

Their mom says Scarlett’s love for fossils began years ago.

“She draws a lot of dinosaur stuff and dreams about all the shovels and tools she’s going to have so it’s kind of cool,” said Jennifer Schmaltz.

And four-year-old Kai Gibbins also shows off his findings.

“These things and I find this [dinosaur skull],” said Gibbins.

Kai said he studied how to dig by watching movies about dinosaurs.

“[I love] dinosaur movies, yes and dinosaur books! I like Jurassic World,” explained Gibbins.

Instructor Sarah Fox said even as a teacher, there’s always more to learn.

“I love doing this because I love hearing how much they know about dinosaurs and they tell me more. You know they know way more than I do and they share their knowledge and they’re so excited to share that knowledge with me,” said Fox.

Next week students can share more knowledge when they learn about dinosaur eggs.

Although Saturday’s digs didn’t have real dinosaur bones, the kids got to practice with the same tools that scientists use in the field and they got to keep what they found.

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