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Family Digs 101

IT'S FINALLY HERE! Thursday July 2nd begins our first day of family dinosaur digs for the 2009 season and we couldn't be more excited! The spaces filled so quickly that we got to open up 2 extra days of digging. Dallas and William have been out here for almost a week already, preparing the dig site at the Ruth Mason Quarry, home of our digging adventures!

Meet your 2009 fearless leaders: Dallas, William, Steve, Michele & Nicole

For those of you not familiar with the digs, here's a little background to bring you up to speed...

Ruth Mason ranched near Faith, SD, a prairie community 100 miles northeast of the Black Hills. At the age of seven Ruth discovered a bed of ancient bones weathering out of a bluff a few miles from her folk's house. More than 100 years later, this quarry still contains the remains of SEVERAL THOUSAND Edmontosaurus annectens, all disarticulated. There are several theories as to why so many dinosaur remains were found in one spot. One possibility is that a river system could have transported the bones a few at a time to a sandy coast at the edge of a receding Cretaceous sea. OR a great storm could have trapped and drowned a heard on a split of land. Various Carnivorous teeth, including that of T. rex, have been found at the site, which could mean that those beasts were scavenging remains. How do you think they may have gotten there?

Every day begins at 8:00 am as families and museum staff make their way from Faith to the Ruth Mason Quarry. Everyone will have the opportunity to actively excavate real dinosaur fossils under the guidance of The Children's Museum staff. As participants, families will help with current scientific research designed to provide valuable information about the environment in which dinosaurs lived. All of the necessary tools and information are provided and all are encouraged to bring log books and cameras to document their findings. At the site, families will experience the process of fossil discovery, excavations, mapping and jacketing in order to prepare the fossils for transportation back to the Paleo Lab at The Children's Museum.

Final preparations have been made for families. As you can see, Dallas and William have carefully mapped the digging area using grids to ensure that records may be kept of where every piece was found at the site.

And of course, no dig site is complete without dig-quality restroom accomodations -

Welcome to the House of Blues!

As we continue to cross our fingers for blue skies and dry ground,

stay tuned as the digging days unfold...