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We Dug It!

By Nicole Schoville, Family & Neighborhood Programs Coordinator

Did you know that every summer The Children's Museum of Indianapolis takes families and teachers on Dinosaur Digs in Faith, South Dakota?  Days are spent digging for 65 million year-old dinosaur bones while under the supervision of Museum Paleontologists.  This summer we were out there with about 100 folks, spread out over 2 weeks, locating, mapping, and excavating fossils.

It took a while, but we have officially counted up all of our prehistoric  finds and the grand total is ...


All from the Late Cretaceous period (65 million years ago), many of the fossils that we find come from Edmontosaurus annectens, otherwise known as the ‘Duckbill’.  Families and teachers worked to unearth 5 fibulae and 3 tibia, along with quite a few skull elements, ribs and vertebrae.  The 'Biggest Find'  award goes to a one meter long fibula pictured here:

Families and teachers worked tirelessly for 2 weeks to unearth this 2 foot tibia and meter long fibula!

William (Children's Museum Paleontologist) was especially geeked - er, excited - about our non-Edmontosaurus material that was collected, like gar fish and crocodile.  Some other findings that were especially cool for the Paleo Guys were:

3 Nanotyrannus teeth

possible Troodon bone

A prehistoric snail

You may be asking yourself Why are these non-Edmontosaurus finds cool? Well, we went straight to the source and here is what Dallas (Children's Museum Paleontologist) had to say:

The non-Edmontosaur material at the dig site is always very significant.   It tells us much more of the environment that these animals lived in.  These associated materials provide clues about the climate & biodviersity of the Late Cretaceous.

You also might be wondering What happens to the fossils that are found at the site?

Most fossils found while surface collecting may be kept by digging participants, however, fossils excavated at the dig site become property of The Children's Museum; they will be taken to the museum's Paleo Prep Lab. Dig participants are helping the museum excavate fossils that will be prepared in the lab in Dinosphere. Diggers may return to the museum throughout the year to help prep and clean bones for research.

As we continue to count, clean, and research our summer finds, stay tuned for breaking news on the 2011 Digs.  Be the first to register by signing up for our dig e-news.  In the mean time, Dallas and William and the rest of the Dinosphere Crew will be looking forward to seeing you soon!

For some fun family reading, check out this article about two new species of horned dinosaurs that have been discovered - Maybe you could be the next discoverer!

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