FOSSIL HUNTING IN MONTANA
Six volunteers accompanied Chris DeLorey, Director of Education for Brevard Zoo (aka dinosaur enthusiast and fossil hunter) to Montana to see how dinosaur bones are found and collected. They traveled to the northwest part of the state to visit the Two Medicine Dinosaur Center in Bynum. Aptly named for the 70-83 million year old Two Medicine formation, which is where collections have primarily taken place. Chris and his team had run seven expeditions here over the past five years since the summer of 2017.
The Two Medicine Dinosaur Center has been aquainting guests with real paleontological collections for 20+ years, and was founded in 1995 by paleontologist Dave Trexler, who has worked in the field since the early 1970’s. Having studied throughout western North America, he and his family have been heavily involved in dinosaur nesting behavior research (Dave’s mother found the world’s very first baby dinosaurs in a nest!). Dave’s graduate work was a treatise on Maiasaura at the University of Calgary. He and his crew collected and prepared what was the only known adult specimen of the herbivorous species, and Dave’s composition is still a desk reference for anyone studying duckbilled dinosaurs.
Thanks to the Brevard Zoo and Chris DeLorey’s relationship with the crew at the Two Medicine Dinosaur Center, participants are able to go into the field to help collect specimens for study. Some of these specimens have even been transported to our Zoo for preparation and display.
The Brevard Zoo will be running multiple trips for kids and adults in the summer of 2018.
Are dinosaurs living today?
Modern birds may have evolved from a group of carnivorous dinosaurs known as ‘theropods’, which walked on two legs. Take a look at some of the traits birds and dinos have in common.
Nests, Eggs & Young
Like birds’, dinosaur eggs varied in shape, size and texture. Tiny holes in the egg shell (pores) allowed fresh air to reach the developing embryo. Once the yolk was consumed, the baby hatched.
Some baby dinosaurs might have cared for themselves right after hatching. Others stayed near the nest and their father looked after them and taught foraging.
T.rex’s bones contained large air spaces. These let the bones stay light and strong even though dinosaurs were really very large. This trait is also seen in modern birds who have hollow bones with large air spaces.
Too bad humans, our bones only have small air spaces in them. Looks like we weren’t that closely related to the dinosaurs.
Take a look at these skeletons!
See the skeletons and what parts they have in common.
PLANNING YOUR VISIT
Hours of Operation
10:00 AM – 5 PM
Zoo members may enter at 9:30 AM
Last admission is 4:15 PM
The Zoo is accessible by wheelchair, ECV
and stroller. Please note that there is a ramp
as you enter and exit the exhibit and a mulch
substrate is used for the pathway. Wheelchairs,
strollers and ECVs are available to rent.