Paleontologists are educating teens and families about dinosaurs by taking them to a dig site in Morton County in hopes of finding fossils.
We spoke with some diggers about their experiences.
Seventeen-year-old Chris Boughton traveled all the way from Long Island, New York just to have the chance to get his hands on something prehistoric.
“I’m liking it, it was a bone I was working on just before and I like how I was just trying to get it all out of me. You know, piece it all together,” said Boughton.
Boughton is not the only one digging and scrapping in hopes of finding prehistoric fossils.
The North Dakota Geological Survey Public Day program affords fossil enthusiasts the opportunity to actually take part in a dig.
“Dinosaurs are the primary thing that we find here, but we also get crocodiles, we get fish, a few turtles anything that you can imagine living in that kind of swampy delta environment,” said Jeff Person, North Dakota Geological Survey Paleontologist.
Person says fossils of all kinds have been found at this site.
“What we’re finding at this site is an animal called a Ditto dinosaur. We do have T-Rex here. We have found many teeth of T-Rex here,” he said.
Thirteen-year-old Mara Bestge, of Minnesota, is another teen who is very interested in paleontology and has been since she was 8.
“Ever since I watched the show Jurassic Park when I was little, I fell in love with it,” said Bestge.
Which is why she was excited about what she has found on earlier trips..
“I found a hadrosaurs tooth, lots of little bits, tendons,” said Bestge.
When there are public digs going on at the site, a paleontologist is on hand to explain ways to discover the fossils and how to carefully retrieve them.
“We have different techniques for digging and out here it’s a little bit more heavy tools because our fossil formation is about 3 to 4 feet thick. We can find bones spaced out throughout that thickness, but that doesn’t always guarantee there will be something always.”
A Edmontosaurus tooth and arm was found on site Friday.
“The aspect of discovery, knowing that when you uncover something, you are the first person to have seen that in this case 66 million years. No one has seen it and you’re the first person,” Person said.
This program has occurred annually since 2000 and has received national recognition from The New York times in 2017.