Bowman County triceratops skull was discovered by accident

BOWMAN COUNTY, N.D. - Two men made the discovery of a lifetime after taking an unfamiliar path at an excavation site.

Photo courtesy: Fossil Excavators

Michael Kjelland is a professor at Mayville State University. He and intern Harrison Duran excavated the bone in early June and named the dinosaur Alice.

Kjelland says he had been digging at the specific site for a few years, but never wandered into the ravine of Hell Creek.

When working on a different skull he invited Duran from California to help excavate the dinosaur.

The two were walking through an area that Kjelland hadn't been to before when they discovered Alice, a 65.5-million-year-old triceratops.

“Before we went to the skull, Skull X, I said, 'Well, lets go check out plant fossils in the ground over there,' and so we did. Little did we know what we would stumble upon in that area that we hadn’t been to before: a skull, the triceratops skull and some miscellaneous bones of Alice,” said Kjelland.

The discovery of Alice only added to the amount of skulls they have located in this specific area.

“The great thing is that there’s not only one. There’s another one that I stumbled upon as I was walking out from Skull X, and so far we've uncovered the next shield of that one, so that’s actually a third individual,” said Kjelland.

The landowners donated the skull to Fossil Excavators, a non-profit ran by Kjelland.

He says they plan to keep the dinosaur in the state for display.

The next step is to clean out the bone in the lab, which could take months.