Vertebrate Fossils

Vertebrate Fossils in the Great Plains Dinosaur Museum

Montana records a vast swath of the Mesozoic Era (the green on the map above). The Mesozoic Era is the "Age of Dinosaurs", and the layers of rock and sand that stretch through north-central Montana and up into Alberta contain the most complete dinosaurs found on Earth. While dinosaur remains are found on every continent, most discoveries are of partial skeletons and isolated bones. That is not the case in north-central Montana. Rare dinosaur specimens have been found here that still have fossilized skin, tendon, and stomach contents.

The Great Plains Dinosaur Museum displays a variety of vertebrate fossils spanning the "Age of Dinosaurs" from Montana: Camarasaurus and Stegosaurus - some of the oldest dinosaur fossils from Montana (over 150 million years old!), marine life such as sea going turtles and crocodiles (~100 million years old), a growth series of the duck-billed dinosaur Brachylophosaurus (juveniles to adults! - fossils ~75 million years old), a rare and new species of "raptor", a new species of horned dinosaur (related to Triceratops), as well as some of the last non-avian dinosaurs on Earth (like Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus rex - ~66 million years old).