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On The Montana Dinosaur Trail

Do you know about the Montana Dinosaur Trail? I recently visited several locations on the trail, beginning along the Rocky Mountain Front.

Our first stop was to be at an active dinosaur dig west of Choteau. The dig is managed by Two Medicine Dinosaur Center in Bynum and we were to meet them as they traveled to the dig. Due to landowner restrictions only authorized vehicles can enter the site so I planned to leave my car at a road junction and then we would ride the rest of the way with the Two Medicine van.

Two days before we were scheduled to participate in the dig the area had almost an inch of rain. The day before the dig it rained slightly and the day of the dig, you guessed it, more rain. I called Two Medicine Dinosaur Center the morning we were to meet them and they said they would not be able to get to the site because of all of the mud. Darn, was I ever disappointed! They said the other dig participants would be working in the bone prep lab though and we were welcome to join them there.

The little town of Bynum is just 13 miles north of Choteau on US Hwy 89 so it was an easy drive to Two Medicine Dinosaur Center. Businesses in Bynum include Two Medicine Dinosaur Center, an amazing Rock Shop and JD’s (bar and restaurant) so it’s easy to find your way around! I saw information in the dinosaur center that said there are about 27 residents in Bynum if everyone is home. Yes, it’s a small town!

Dave Trexler is the lead paleontologist at Two Medicine and I’ve had the pleasure of doing several dino digs with him. He’s very patient with me since my knowledge of geology and paleontology is limited. I’m sure I’ve asked the same questions several times but it takes a couple of times for this scientific data to sink in!

Dave was on site today and told us about their current summer programs. In addition to running the facility in Bynum, Dave also coordinates paleo digs throughout Montana and he serves as the paleo expert for all of the facilities on the Montana Dinosaur Trail. Dave grew up in this area and, besides dinosaurs, he knows fascinating ranching and cowboy history.

If you could piece two of these photos together you would only have a partial view of the world’s longest full-size scale model of a seismosaurus halli (translates to earth-shaker lizard).

It is 137 feet long and 23 feet tall at the hips – big creature! And, it is in the Guinness Book of World Records. Halli, as I call this creature, pretty much needs the entire main gallery of the dinosaur center in order to stand up and keep it’s head and tail intact.

 

 

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