Paleontologists search for site to put state dinosaur park

Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 12:55 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 9, 2023 at 8:51 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Paleontologists say North Dakota is brimming with dinosaur fossils. That’s why some are surveying tracts of land owned by the state to eventually create a dinosaur park.

They’re looking for a site that has significant deposits of fossils, specifically from the Hell Creek Formation that stretches across North Dakota. The Hell Creek Formation is where folks can find specimen from the last group before the creatures died out and learn about the extinction of dinosaurs and the rise of mammals.

“We’ve got this Hell Creek Formation which is really abundant in fossils and in the types of dinosaurs that people get really excited about, triceratops, T-rex, that it makes sense to package that all together and to make an experience for people to come see and understand where those fossils and iconic dinosaurs come from,” said Clint Boyd, senior paleontologist with North Dakota Geological Survey.

After they find a site, they hope to set up a tourist attraction, but researchers aren’t sure if it will look like a natural area for public digs or be something more extensive. Paleontologists say the search for the dinosaur park site has been going well. So far, they’ve identified more than 100 fossil sites they didn’t know of before, and they’ve collected more fossils for the state fossil collection.

This summer they’ll finish surveying the land and present their findings to the Industrial Commission which will determine the feasibility of the project.