In the summer of 2000, Burpee personnel began conducting field work in the latest Cretaceous (65-67 million years ago), Hell Creek Formation of Carter County, Montana. This was the time that Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops, duck-billed dinosaurs, raptors, and armored ankylosaurs roamed North America. During the late Cretaceous, Montana had a much warmer and wetter climate than it does today. Crocodiles, turtles, freshwater skates and dinosaurs of all kinds lived and died in a coastal floodplain. A vast inland sea, which once bisected North America, was slowly receding. Burpee Museum field crews have made many important discoveries including “Jane” a world famous juvenile T.rex, and “Homer” a sub-adult Triceratops, as well as an outstanding collection of microvertebrate fossils, and many other specimens.
In 2008 Burpee personnel began a collecting program in the Jurassic Period aged (150-147million years ago), Morrison Formation in Hanksville, Utah. A new site was discovered which garnered national attention! The Hanksville-Burpee bone bed is a huge dinosaur “graveyard” which is almost ¼ of mile long and 300 feet wide. It represents an ancient river system which had many sandbars in it. As animals would die and wash onto the sandbars, they would eventually be buried. In the course of 6 weeks, Burpee field crews discovered skeletons from half a dozen different dinosaurs, including the giant long necked sauropods like Camarasaurus, Diplodocus, and Barosaurus. Other dinosaurs, including the meat eating Allosaurus and the plated Stegosaurus, were also found. The Hanksville-Burpee bonebed is expected to give scientists a better understanding of the late Jurassic Period, which was a period dominated by giant dinosaurs and a much warmer climate than today.
Burpee staff and crew members continue to venture out to Montana and Utah each summer on paleontology expeditions in search of new dinosaur fossils, and the trips are open to the public! This past field season, nearly 60 fossil enthusiasts joined our crew, with participants ranging from high school students to retirees, bringing with them a diverse range of life experiences and skills to the team.
Find a dinosaur. Make new friends.