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Day 5 - Digging the Black Hills Institute

We awoke to Day 5 with gray skies and rain.  Once we got confirmation from the ranch owners that our roads out to the site were unnavigable, we implemented 'Plan B'.  Plan B was a trip down to Hill City for a behind-the-scenes look at The Black Hills Institute of Geological Research.  There we received an exclusive tour, given by Pete Larson who is most famous for the excavation of Sue the T.rex.  He took us where few others are able to go:  Into the labs, the paint shops, and where the molding and casting of all their specimens take place.

Pictured above is an impression of fossilized Triceratops skin!   This fossil skin was found with an amazing Triceratops dinosaur nicknamed LANE.

This is a Brachylophosaurus that was found in Moulton, Montana.  They call him a 'Mummy Dino' due to how intact he was upon discovery.  This one is interesting because scientists could see that he was 'T.rex food' due to healed bite wounds discovered along the top side.

When we're out at our site digging, it can sometimes be difficult to imagine what our fossils might have looked like, all put together 65 million years ago.  Fossilized ribs and tendons are common finds for us so for those folks who have been digging with us, this an especially cool specimen to view up close because it's easy to see the ribs and tendons in tact.

All in all it was a good day with a lots of cool discoveries and family learning.  We were happy and privileged that Pete took us on the tour and he answered lots of questions from the eager young minds of some budding paleontologists.  Our families are pictured above with Pete with the original STAN the T.rex.

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