When was the last time you found yourself in a landscape so quiet that the only sounds came from birds? Have you ever seen land so vast that the horizon stretched off for 100 miles? Eastern Montana is truly Big Sky Country and home to countless dinosaur specimens. Finding them, digging them up, and transporting them to the museum takes extraordinary time, energy, and funds. Without the physical help and financial aid of interested paying participants, these unique summer programs would not be possible.
If you are considering joining a dinosaur dig, it is extremely important that you find out if you are participating with a museum or recognized scientific institution. In Montana there are many dig opportunities offered by outfits that are in fact commercial collectors. These are businesses that legally collect and sell fossils. Many of these commercial organizations do work with paleontologists, partner with museums, take excellent scientific data, and have professionally recognized reputations. However, some of these businesses are less reputable. They say that they collect exclusively for museums or that all of their fossils go to museums, but unfortunately this is largely not the case. Few museums have the resources to buy these fossils, and many are sold to private collectors; and in turn many of these fossils will never been seen by the public nor contribute to science. These less reputable outfits make twice the money off of guests: guests pay to dig up fossils, and then those fossils are sold. Alternatively, working with a museum is a far more rewarding experience. Often field crews are acknowledged in scientific papers and reports, and more importantly you will be working with scientists directly to collect fossils that will one day go into displays or be the focus of scientific research. By working with museums you will literally be contributing to the future success of the scientific discipline of paleontology. (if you have questions about any paleontology institutions or individuals, we strongly urge you to contact the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology at http://vertpaleo.org/)
Please join the Great Plains Dinosaur Museum’s paleontologist and the Two Medicine Dinosaur Center's paleontologist Dave Trexler for an authentic scientific experience as they continue to discover and uncover dinosaurs and other fossils. Dave Trexler, a native Montanan, is a member of the family that discovered “Egg Mountain,” the famous Montanan hillside covered with dinosaur eggs. He has a master’s degree in vertebrate paleontology from University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada and is a paleontologist at the Two Medicine Dinosaur Center in Bynum, MT.
The 2016 Dinosaur Dig Season was great! The GPDM and TMDC team worked together on an Edmontosaurus duck-billed dinosaur site in the famous Hell Creek Formation of southern Phillips County. This subadult-sized Edmontosaurus is partially articulated, and the site is so rich with bones that there may be a second animal present, so we are very excited to continue the dig next year!
2017 participants will continue to excavate and jacket bones, and learn basic local geology, surveying techniques, how to collect and record scientific data from a site, and how to safely collect and transport fossils. This is a 100% real, scientific dinosaur dig, and all specimens collected are donated to the Great Plains Dinosaur Museum for research and exhibits, so that these fossils are preserved locally for everyone to enjoy!
Participants must be age 11 or older and able to walk short distances and sit on the ground. All minors must be accompanied by an adult. A 50% discount is offered to nonparticipating adults who accompany a participating minor. [Note: Is your child younger than 11? Please go to the Museum’s “Junior Paleontologist Programs.”]
2017 Dino Dig Dates
We recommend that diggers start on the first day of each session for the introductory tour and training, and stay for however many days you choose.
Non-Museum Member: $230/day. For 3 days or more, $200/day.
Museum Member: $210/day. For 3 days or more, $200/day.
For all reservations we require a $200 nonrefundable deposit.
You are responsible for your own travel to Malta, and lodging, breakfast, and dinner in town. A 50% discount is offered to nonparticipating adults who accompany a participating minor.
The Great Plains Dinosaur Museum Supplies:
Recommended Gear You Should Bring: