FACT Dinosaur Dig in Montana Was Great (2005 Archive)

FACT Dinosaur Dig in Montana Was Great

Ten new comers met on July 20th, in Glendive, Montana near the Yelowstone River and Lewis and Clark trail, to continue the excavation on a Triceratops discovered by Otis Kline in early 2004.  After an orientation on dig proceedures, Joel Peck with Otis and I got everyone started removing the clay around the bones, each in their own one meter square grid.  All the bone material appeared to be parts of a very large skull of a ceratopsian.  Otis and I agreed that there was reason to believe it might even be a Torosaurus.  These were triceratops with two holes in their wide skulls.  Parts of the tooth rows of probably the maxilla, the upper jaw teeth, were recovered three feet apart.  Indeed the skull appeared broken and dissasociated after burial.  I suspect that an earthquake caused the earth here to heave up and down.  This would leave the strata still in their flat positions, but it would leave the bones broken and jumbled.  I saw several places where the strata had slid against itself.  This is called “slick and slide” indicating upheaval.

There are plants in almost every layer here and it is estimated that 90% of the Hell Creek formation is found here on Otis’s property.  Seeds of different plants and cones of seqouia are mixed with whole figs, leaves of the willow tree and giant horse tail reeds and ocasionally closed clams.  The important thing to note here, is that one does not expect to find these different plants growing together.  The figs here are just like they were on the tree, except that they are turned to stone and are rusty brown.  Reading in Revelation recently, I was struck by verse 6:13, “And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.”  Geologist John MacKay pointed out that young unripe figs are hard to get off the tree and that it takes a strong wind to tear them off when green.  This is exactly what it looks like happened here. These dinosaurs were buried during a terriffic wind storm which was strong enough to rip green figs off the tree.

We also sawed in half two large femur bones that Otis had found. This nerve-wracking task was done so Hugh Miller and Bill White could collect samples from the inner core. They plan to do the chemical tests to search for soft tissue and perform C-14 tests.

Otis had the walls up on his new museum.  Opening is scheduled for summer 2006.  It should be a tremendous museum and a stimulus to the local economy.  Glendive is a cattle ranch and coal mining town with a colorful history going back to the Old West days when American Indians set up their teepees in the streets of Glendive during celebrations.

Joe Taylor
Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum


Article copyright Mt. Blanco, originally published 2005.  Re-posted August 2015

*Mt. Blanco Archives: Because of the many changes since Mt. Blanco opened in 1998, we are re-posting many of the old updates, articles, etc. that were originally on our website.  Some of the information may be out of date, but each of our archived articles are an important part of Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum’s history.

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