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Badlands Dinosaur Museum to livestream field report

The museum will give the public its field report on Facebook Live Thursday. The report will detail summer findings from a dig site in Montana. The event will follow with an open house Friday.

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The Badlands Dinosaur Museum in Dickinson, pictured above, has a wide array of ancient creatures. (Jason O'Day / The Dickinson Press)

Since 2017, the Badlands Dinosaur Museum Center in Dickinson has conducted annual field reports from all across north central Montana where the Judith River Formation is noted for being a fossil lair geological formation dating back to the late Cretaceous period, approximately 76 million years ago. This year, the museum will virtually reveal its summer findings from a dig site in its annual field report.

The Badlands Dinosaur Museum will virtually host its 5th Annual Field Report at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2, via Facebook . For those unable to view it live, a recorded version will be available on YouTube and Facebook. It will also be aired on Dickinson’s public access television on Channel 19.

Badlands Dinosaur Museum Curator Denver Fowler, who holds a Ph.D. in earth sciences from Montana State University and a master’s degree in paleobiology from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, said that this presentation is unique.

“There’s not too many museums that do these types of field presentations," Fowler said. "We have the biggest field program in our region. We did three months of field work — the longest we’ve ever run."

The museum traditionally held its field reports in person, but began transitioning to a digital platform in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Fowler said this allows them to reach a wider audience of dinosaur lovers anyway, with viewers asking questions from all over the world.

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“I usually do about 45 minutes, talking through slides of some of the stuff we found this summer. Then we do an on-camera bit where we pull out some things from the collection, answer people’s questions, stuff like that,” he said. “We’ve got some cool duckbill material that we found in June. We’ve cleaned up some of the tyrannosaur bones that we got last year, so we’ll show some of those as well.”

Fowler noted that he’ll also be discussing an articulated duck bill, the helicopter lift to extract a 9,000-pound slab of rock encasing a tyrannosaur and some baby dinosaur material they found during their summer excavation in northeastern Montana near the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.

Two new museum employees, whose names have yet to be released, will be starting in January to fill vacancies. They include a paleontology educator to do events at area schools and assist in cataloguing the fossil collection, as well as a fossil preparator to clean fossils in the lab. Both will help manage volunteers.

Fowler encouraged anyone interested in volunteering to stop by during business hours or call 701-456-6225. The lab is quite large and has enough space to comfortably fit four people at a time working on fossils, he added.

Following the virtual presentation, the Badlands Dinosaur Museum will host an open house Friday, Dec. 3, with free admission along with some Christmas-themed exhibits on display. Visitors will be able to tour the lab and see some fossils that were found over the summer. The museum’s hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

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