Dinosaur fossils recovered from Morton County

Published: Jul. 16, 2019 at 9:01 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Located just 40-miles south of Bismarck and Mandan, these people are making history, literally, by digging up dinosaurs. They've been working on these fossils for a few weeks now, and today they are finally taking them out of the ground.

People from around the world come to North Dakota to scrape away at the earth, in hopes of recovering reptiles that are millions of years old.

"I'm not even from North Dakota and I get to come here and take part and help build this pre-historic record of what life was like here,” says Heather Ross, a digger from Oakland, CA.

Those who uncover bones, also become part of the process of removing them from the land.

"The timeline for pulling out a bone really depends on how big it is," says Becky Barnes, Paleontologist and Lab Manager.

Once discovered, the fossils are wrapped in plaster and prepped in a jacket for removal.

"When you're flipping a jacket over you have to be really fast, you have to have a lot of hands on deck, and you have to make sure you’re holding on to the top and under the jerk as well,” says Barnes.

After removal, the fossils are taken to the lab located in Bismarck to be cleaned and analyzed.

"A lot of the fossils that come out of this area are T-Rex chew toys. They've been knawed upon, we have fantastic scower, bite marks running through these fossils," says Barnes.

These daily discoveries help paleontologists re-create the life that once walked through the state.

"This is really just helping preserving our history. This is North Dakota's history," says Barnes.

One giant footstep at a time.

Now that these bones are finally removed, they will be taken back to the lab where they'll dig through the extra dirt and finally pull out the fossils, in hopes they'll be displayed somewhere around North Dakota.