Don a pair of work gloves and dig for dinosaurs in the world famous Hell Creek Formation of Montana! Look for Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops, and other dinosaurs, as well as ammonites and other invertebrate marine animals and possibly even some plants - all under the supervision of experienced field paleontologists!
Three Opportunities to Dig:
This course will be offered 3 times during the 2013 Summer. Plan to arrive and get settled on the Sunday prior to the course. The course runs Monday through Friday afternoon, with Saturday reserved for clean-up, packing, and departure.
- Session 1: July 15-19, 2013 (max 20 participants)
- Session 2: July 22-26, 2013 (max 10 participants)
- Session 3: July 29-August 2, 2013 (max 10 participants)
Participants will Learn:
- Location of fossils
- Field mapping
- Stratified rock analysis
- Fossil identification
- Microsite screening
- Taphonomy (the process of organic matter becoming fossilized)
- Excavation techniques
About the Course:
This is a non-credit Experience Montana field course in Paleontology (the study of ancient life through the collection and preservation of fossils). Participants can expect to learn a great deal, without the stress of tests or grades!
The class will occur in the rugged badlands of the Hell Creek Formation in Eastern Montana, near Glendive. Ten species of dinosaurs have been discovered at Makoshika, including the well-known Triceratops, Edmontosaurus, and, of course, the Tyrannosaurus Rex. The most recently discovered dinosaur was a Thescelosaurus, in 1997.
Course participants will prospect for, excavate, and remove real dinosaur bones. As much time as possible will be spent in the field. If inclement weather prevents field time, alternate activities will include preparing fossils, molding and casting, and touring other regional Montana dinosaur attractions.
Due to the difficult terrain and the potential for high temperatures in July, this course is rated as Strenuous
. Participants should be in good physical condition and are required to be 16 years of age or older.
Alan Brown is an instructor of Geology at Middle Tennessee State University and director of the MTSU mineral, gem and fossil museum. He has a bachelor’s degree in Geology and a master’s degree in Hydrogeology from Illinois State University. For the past 4 summers he has participated in dinosaur paleontology fieldwork in numerous locations across Montana.
Jerry Jacene is the Field Director and Paleontologist for the Makoshika Dinosaur Museum (MDM) in Glendive, Montana and the director and Paleontologist for
the Glen Rose Texas Dinosaur Track Site of Glen Rose Texas. Jerry also taught a field course on molding and casting in the Yun Nan province of China.
Steve Bury is a co-founder of the MDM. Discovering a dinosaur with his family in 2001 was the catalyst in development of the MDM, which has worked to preserve the local fossils of Montana since its opening in 2005. The MDM is on the Montana Dinosaur Trail.
Chantell Bury is a 2013 alum of Montana State University (MSU) with a B.S. in Geology and is a co-founder of the Makoshika Dinosaur Museum in Glendive, MT. Chantell was part of the Natural Science Foundation (NSF) funded Paleo Exploration Project's (PEP) summer internship program in 2009 and 2010, which was conducted by The University of Montana, and was one of nine students in Montana to study and research dinosaur eggs in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province in China during the early summer of 2010. The Dinosaur Eggs and Education program was funded by the NSF and conducted through MSU.
Readings are optional in this non-credit course, but you might find the following list of interest before embarking on the trip:
- "Barnum Brown: The Man Who Discovered Tyrannosaurus Rex," by Lowell Dingus and Mark Norell
- "Bones for Barnum Brown," by Roland T. Bird
- "Fossil Legends of the First Americans," by Adrianne Mayer
- "Life of a Fossil Hunter," by Charles Sternberg (anything written about Sternberg will also be interesting and useful)
- "The Gilded Dinosaur: The Fossil War Between E.D. Cope and O.C. Marsh and the Rise of American Science," by Mark Jaffe
- Any works on Mary Anning
Travel, Accommodations, and Logistics:
Participants will be responsible for providing their own transportation to and from Glendive, MT. A map and directions can be viewed and printed HERE.
Shuttle service will be provided to participants who fly in to the Dawson Community Airport. The next nearest airports are at Billings, MT and Bismark, ND, each approximately 3 hours away. Participants flying in to those airports will need to rent a car or arrange for alternative ground transportion to and from Glendive.
Comfortable accommodations will be offered at the Student Living Complex on the Dawson Community College campus. Two-bedroom units are fully furnished with a stove, refrigerator, and single beds. Wireless Internet access is available. Course participants will be responsible for their own meals. There is a minimum occupancy of 2 persons per unit, so solitary participants will be paired with a roommate.
All participants must have medical insurance. Be prepared for hot weather, cool nights, and a variety of topographically challenging hikes. Participants must be in good physical condition. This course includes a lot of strenuous activity. Please review the required and optional equipment lists and rules for participation below.
- Good hiking boots (sandals are not allowed in the field)
- Day Pack
- Water containers (min. 2 qts) - You'll go through a lot of water in the field. It's very hot and dry.
- Hat (a definite must-have)
- Insect repellent
- Long pants (you may wear shorts, but pants are encouraged in the field)
- Sleeping bag or blankets
*Participants are also responsible for bringing food for the full duration of the course, including sack lunches for the field work each day. There is a grocery store close to the lodging, and each room has a full kitchen & refrigerator as well.
- Rock hammer
- Hand lens (10x)
- DCC will retain ownership of all vertebrate fossils collected.
- No unsupervised fossil collecting at any time.
- Participants are responsible for bringing all personal gear.
- Report all illnesses, allergic reactions, or injury to instructors promptly.
- Stay together in the badlands; do not leave the group without informing the instructors.
- Look out for your classmates.
- Dress appropriately.
Registration is now OPEN. The deadlines for registration are as follows:
Session 1: July 15-19, 2013 - Registration deadline: July 1
Session 2: July 22-26, 2013 - Registration deadline: July 8
Session 3: July 29-August 2, 2013 - Registration deadline: July 15
This personal enrichment course is not offered for UM credit. Formal admission to the university is not required. All participants pay the same fee, regardless of state residence.
Section 1: July 15-19 (M-F)
Section 2: July 22-26 (M-F)
Section 3: July 29-Aug 2 (M-F)
Registration is now OPEN
Enrollment is limited.
$750/person - Includes accomodations at Dawson Community College. Does not include food.
For more information or to reserve a seat, contact: