Archive for Friday, August 17, 2012

Dinosaur hunter finds triceratops

August 17, 2012


Fossil hunter Alan Detrich, climbs through a pile of triceratops bones while he talks about the find that was uncovered by he and other members of his crew near Jordan, Montana in late July and early August of 2012.

Fossil hunter Alan Detrich, climbs through a pile of triceratops bones while he talks about the find that was uncovered by he and other members of his crew near Jordan, Montana in late July and early August of 2012.

A local dinosaur hunter just back from a fossil-finding trip to Montana will be working on a new triceratops fossil this winter, but it’s just the latest prize for Alan Detrich, who has collected many specimens over the years.

The new find could be worth $1 million to $1.5 million, Detrich said, because the three-horned dinosaur is a popular fossil for museums and collectors to own.

“You ask a kid to name the dinosaurs, and triceratops will be No. 2,” he said.

The most popular dinosaur, Tyrannosaurus rex, could be worth more than $8 million. Detrich found one of those, too, years ago in South Dakota.

His latest find is remarkably complete, he said. It’s rare to find a triceratops that’s more than 50 percent complete, and this one is almost there, he said, even though it hasn’t been fully excavated yet.

Some of the fossil remains underground near Jordan, Mont., and parts of it are being cleaned by a professional in Lusk, Wyo.

Other parts of the fossil, including a massive vertebra that would take two hands to hold, are encased in plaster in a shed near Detrich’s rural Douglas County home, about 18 miles southwest of Lawrence. The fossils are housed along with many other dinosaur bones and artistic sculptures Detrich has created using dinosaur bones. He’ll work on cleaning and preparing the most recent find later in the winter.

The area where he found the dinosaur has yielded several triceratops fossils in recent years, Detrich said.

“We believe that we’re in an area that there’s a lot of them,” he said. “Herds were crossing these rivers and a lot of them drowned.”

The money generated from the fossils is divided among the members of his fossil-finding team and the landowner, Detrich said.

Fossil hunters are something of a rare breed, Detrich said.

“I bet there aren’t 100 of them in the world today,” he said.

David Burnham, a vertebrate paleontologist at the Kansas University Biodiversity Institute who has known Detrich for more than 20 years, said while fossils of triceratops skulls and other smaller body parts are more common, it’s unusual to see a more complete fossil.

The famous locale in Montana has definitely yielded its fair share of fossils, Burnham said, but he couldn’t say whether that was because of its reputation or if there happened to be more dinosaurs there than in other places for some reason.

Detrich has shared some of his findings with KU’s Natural History Museum, and many of his fossils have been found in western Kansas, Burnham said.

“He’s been very generous to paleontology and very generous to KU,” Burnham said.


blindrabbit 5 years, 5 months ago

Blashphemy, how dare you bring something (supposedly) that old back into Kansas. Don't you know this will cause a clash with the current State Administration and their Creationist approach to these kinds of things. One possible way of rectifying the situation is to follow the lead of the Creation Museum in Old Kentucky, where evidence of early man (6,000 years ago) can be seen cavorting with dinosaurs.. Investigative science may be on it's way out in Kansas anyway as Brownback kicks off his Kansas Experiment and we drift into ignorance.

geekin_topekan 5 years, 5 months ago

We all know that fossils were placed by Satan to lead us away from Christ. Don't fall for it.

Hooligan_016 5 years, 5 months ago

The cognitive dissonance is astounding >_<

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 5 months ago

Did this triceratops have a saddle with it? Drowning in a massive flood must have been so painful.

Phoghorn 5 years, 5 months ago

Before this thread just absolutely explodes - don't forget that many Christians accepted evolution years ago...This is not a clear-cut Christian vs. everybody else argument.

Elizabeth Stevens 5 years, 5 months ago

What are the rules about who owns fossils? I thought some states say that their state "owns" all the fossils that have been or might be found, and also that one has to be an approved "museum" in order to hold and display them. How does this discovery in Montana fit in with those principles?

RoeDapple 5 years, 5 months ago

Think I'll get cremated so somebody don't dig up this old fossil in a kazillion years.

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