The exhibits and displays at the Great Plains Dinosaur Museum focus on the prehistory of Montana and western North America. Emphasizing paleontology from northern Montana, we welcome all visitors to “walk through” the ancient story of this region.
Ralph the Camarasaurus & Giffen the Stegosaur
Highlights of our gallery include the Camarasaurus “Ralph”, and the stegosaur “Giffen”. Both of these fossil specimens are from the Morrison Formation. At approximately 150 million years old, these are some of the geologically oldest dinosaur fossils ever recovered from Montana. Of further scientific importance, “Ralph” is the first Camarasaurus ever found in Montana, and “Giffen” is the northernmost dinosaur fossil ever recovered from the Morrison Formation in North America.
The Famous Leonardo – Montana’s Mummy Dinosaur
Further ahead in time we come to an ancient coastal deltaic environment (much like the present day Gulf Coast region). This was the Judith River Formation, and it was home to Phillips County’s famed hadrosaur Brachylophosaurus. Brachylophosaurus lived in vast herds here in ancient Phillips County, and the best specimens of this dinosaur come from here. From “babies” to adults, we have them all. The most complete Brachylophosaurus, “Elvis” (on display at the neighboring Phillips Co. Museum and the Museum of the Rockies) was found about 30 minutes north of Malta. And the most famous dinosaur in the Museum is the Brachylophosaurus “Leonardo”. “Leonardo” is in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the most complete “mummy” dinosaur found to-date.
What’s a Mummy Dinosaur?
While we usually think of the mummy’s in Egypt, “mummified” means that the soft parts of a dead animal have been preserved. Leonardo the Mummy dinosaur is one of 4 mummified dinosaurs worldwide. In addition to his bones (like usual) his soft tissue was preserved! Skin, muscles, stomach, and more are all here for us to learn from. Leonardo has taught us more about what Brachylophosaurus were like than any other find!
Herb the Triceratops – A FULL skeleton
The Museum’s gallery ends with the Hell Creek Formation. Being the last formation from the “Age of Dinosaurs” in western North America, the Hell Creek Formation was home to the famed dinosaurs Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus. Though not as abundant in Phillips County, we have bits and pieces of the Hell Creek Formation here. You can meet Herb, the triceratops
So geologically, our gallery has come nearly full in circle telling much of the story of the “Age of Dinosaurs” from Montana.
Roberta the Brachylophosaurus
Like Leonardo, Roberta is a Brachylophosaurus — a hadrosaurid dinosaur. Roberta is a near-complete skeleton found in life position, a rarity for fossil dinosaurs. She has been kept in life position, in the protective plaster cast she was taken out of the ground in. This way, you can see her exactly as she was when she was excavated.