The Eichhorn Collection

When dinosaurs roamed North America during the Cretaceous period, high water levels on Earth caused flooding on the low lands of the Midwest. Stretching from the Arctic down to the Gulf of Mexico, this shallow yet wide seaway split the continent in two. Present-day Montana sat on the western coast of this vast Western Interior Seaway.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that in addition to finding dinosaurs in the area’s sandy soils, fossilized marine animals are also found: squids, crabs, lobsters, turtles, crocodiles and the reptiles of the oceans.

The Eichhorn family of Montana has been responsible for discovering countless marine fossils including three new species of crab which now bear their name. In 2008 the Eichhorns learned of the new Great Plains Dinosaur Museum in Malta and offered their collection to be displayed there. Many of their fossils are found in the Missouri River area and they wanted to keep the fossils close to where they had originated.

In addition to invertebrates, the family has also displayed fish and plant fossils, enabling the visitor to more fully understand the whole ecosystem of prehistoric Montana.