Dig This, Dinosaur Bones

Dig This, Dinosaur Bones

Science is organized knowledge. Knowledge is organized life.
-Immanuel Kant, thinker (1724-1804)

It takes an experienced eye to have a look at unfastened dirt and rapidly ascertain what's rock and what is bone. Just ask paleontologist Jerry Jacene of Red Feather Fossil Excavations, Glendive, Montana.
"This is arms on history," explains Jacene. A discipline director with more than 20 years in paleontology, Jacene has traveled, excavated and documented historical finds in Tennessee, Wyoming, Montana and China, just to name a few places.

A mud, rocky road will take you back, literally, 12 miles to Makoshika Breaks (aka Camp Rex) and back in time to when cretaceous mammals roamed the Badlands of Montana when it was oceanfront property. Makoshika is fifty square miles of buttes (sandstone), rolling prairies, a number of pine bushes, and is also a working ranch.

When our group first met Jerry, he showed us a number of fossils (bones, tooth, eggs and claws) he collected just for our benefit. The primary "clue" he defined to us was that bone is porous, so should you lick it, it should library programs stick with your tongue.

This space, often called the Badlands, used to seem like the Everglades, in response to Jerry, resident paleontologist.

Our camp consisted of a few cabins, a big tepee, and a modern single-story building which housed the kitchen, eating room and gathering place, with two bogs and two showers. In an emergency there was all the time the outhouse, (handicap accessible, however not the buttes). It was right here that co-owner Lois prepared 1,500 meals in someday for television crews and ranchers when the Discovery Channel came out to make a documentary concerning the History of Tyrannosaurus Rex (T-Rex).

The rustic cabins are bunk fashion and minimal electricity. You wont need an alarm clock because daybreak comes round 4 am, and it does not get darkish until around 10 pm. In case you forgot yours, there are pattern packs of Advil and lip balm, compliments of the homeowners, in the cabins and within the restrooms.

In addition to day by day digs, guests can learn about branding, round-ups (even participate of their twice yearly occasion) and horseback ride. Roughly 500 head of cattle are on the property and one hundred horses, most of them wild. Evenings are best enjoyed sitting across the campfire sharing cowboy tales and singing familiar songs.

Our dig begins the subsequent morning after a quick breakfast, buffet style. We load up on Jerry's pick up truck to cover some ground faster. We pass by means of a number of barbed wire fences, which have to be opened and closed by hand to stop cattle from roaming too far. In the course of the summer some cows will find their method into the buttes, alongside harmful dry, remote areas the place they're prey for coyotes and different wild animals. Donning hats, sunscreen and carrying bottled water, we make our way by cathedral buttes, and rock formations holding treasures of history. Amateurs and volunteers (students to adults) play a significant position in discovering, digging and cleaning dinosaur bones and different fossils.

"The most fascinating and historical finds should not the big ones, like T-Rex or Triceratops," mentioned Jacene. "It is the small finds that are probably the most significant. The trace fossils tell us so much more, just like the atmosphere, what they ate; the ecosystem. And how they interacted with every other."
Trace fossils - footprints, mineralized feces, abdomen stones-gastroliths, and impressions left by skin or feathers.

In North Dakota tracks, just like that of an alligator, possibly ninety' in length have been found. They are ripple marks, 2 1'2" aside and tracks from a rigid tail, 1 ¼" apart. Based on Jerry, no one has seen anything like this. They don't know what sort of animal it is.

The most common finds on this space right now are turtle shells. These are simply detected because of the pattern on the shells, this tells us there will need to have been water nearby. You too can find small mammals in ant hills. Ants move the earth, putting sand and filth on prime of the bones, helping preserve them.

Jerry knows the terrain within the instant area better than close by roads. As we hike he points out where sure bones have been found and how.

"With a pair of 10x50 binoculars, I was able to see a (large) piece of bone protruding from a rock formation," mentioned Jerry. He points out the assorted layers, bands in the buttes. "You want to look at midnight bands," he further explained. The layers are ironstone and bentanite. Bigger bones which may be protruding are because of the erosion from weather.

The excavation of 1 butte has brought out an arctic crocodile and a mammal bone, presumably a leg bone from a Chasmosaurus. And in another layer, Lemur teeth have been found. Oftentimes, as a way to move fragile bones and preventing any additional destruction, fossils are encased in a plaster jacket to preserve and relocate them.