About The Fossil Collection
Katie and I conduct commercial fossil services mainly in N.E.
Montana. For the past three years, we have collected in Garfield
County. This area holds the famous Hell Creek Formation. This formation
preserved dinosaurs from the Late Cretaceous. These include T-rex,
Triceratops, Hadrosaurs "Duckbill", Pachycephalosaurs, Ankylosaur,
Nanotyrannus, Dromaeosaur, and many small theropods and herbivores.
Geologists date this layer at 65-68 million years old. The layer is
also famous for being able to see the K-T Boundary (Cretaceous Tertiary
Boundary), which marks the end of the dinosaur age.
Of Land in the Hell Creek Formation: Where we collect, there are
4 types of land, Private, BLM, State, and CMR. Commercial private
collectors are only allowed to collect fossils on private land with
land owner permission. The other three land types allow fossil
collection by special permit only, which are reserved for public
institutions. In the past, we needed to use topo maps that showed the
land types along with a gps. Today, we just use a gps while prospecting
because we have software loaded in that shows the land types along with
land ownership. This tool is awesome!
~Collection Methods: We utilize
three types of methods for our fossil collection on private land.
First, is prospecting. This is where we go out and hike around looking
for fossils exposed on the surface. This is the best way to find
skeletons, though it is very rare to do so. Second, we get calls from
landowners asking for us to come and see a dinosaur they have found.
The third, and the main one, is channel deposit collection. This is
where we find a layer that holds an abundance of animal bones that have
tumbled in a river before they were fossilized. We do not find
skeletons this way, but do find individual bones and teeth, some in
excellent condition. (Before we collect fossils, an agreement is first
made with the
landowner that outlines percentages of revenue from the sale of the
the fossil is collected: After we collect the fossil, it must be
cleaned and stabilized before it can be sold. We do sell some fossils
unprepared, but not very often. We prepare the fossils in our small lab
in Fort Peck, Montana. On an average year, we will prepare around 1000
fossils, from small teeth to 6 foot limb bones. We prepare the fossils
following museum accepted practices. After the fossil is prepared, we
sometimes mold the unique ones. This allows for copies to be made and
sold to private collectors along with public institutions. High quality
molds can produce replicas that can be studied. Even though the
original fossil may be in a private collection, we record all
information with it along with the mold. High quality replicas are very
collectable because of their cost and likeness to the real fossil. At
the end of the day, there are just not enough good fossils for the
amount of collectors. Replicas help fill in this gap. The original
fossil is then photographed, documented, and sold. We sell directly to
private collectors, dealers, and public institutions. We also utilize
ebay for many sales. We maintain a store through ebay that offers a
variety of fossils and replicas we have collected over the years.