The Peculiar Case of Montana’s Dueling Dinosaurs – Welcome to the Montana Dinosaur Trail!
Back in 2006, Northeast Montana dinosaur prospectors Clayton Phipps, Chad O’Connor, and Mark Eatman, stumbled upon one of the most astounding discoveries in the history of paleontology—the fossils of two dinosaurs, interlocked in what appeared to be the final stages of a battle to the death that took place some 67 million years ago. The pair have been dubbed the ‘Dueling Dinosaurs.’
This statewide trail runs across Montana and consists of 14 locations from the Montana Dinosaur Center in Bynum to the Carter County Museum in Ekalaka. Each location offers a glimpse at the historic discoveries in the state and provides visitors with a better understanding of the giants that once inhabited our planet.
Dinosaurs present the unknown – they ruled our planet for over 100 million years, and yet we know so little about them. Unlike lions, tigers and bears, we cannot simply drive down to the local zoo to study these massive creatures. Rather, we have to take a trip back in time and – piece by piece – put together their stories. It is our innate curiosity that has driven us to study these creatures. In Montana, we are privileged to host some of the richest dinosaur fossils, and the state boasts some of the most important discoveries and renowned paleontologists.
We have grown up with dinosaurs, seen the illustrations, visited the museums, and after a while, all of the remains (at least of the same species) begin to look relatively the same. The untrained eye may begin to question what we can learn from the 25th Triceratops specimen, but as Dr. John Scanella, the John R. Horner Curator of Paleontology at the Museum of the Rockies, once said, “just because something is old, or familiar, or common, that doesn’t mean that it has nothing left to teach us.”
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