You Could Make Millions Hunting Dinosaurs Out West
Finding dinosaur bones on your property is a little like winning the lotto. Except you have to actually go looking and digging for it. So, unlike the lotto, it's a lot of work.
A Tyrannosaurus rex skull unearthed in South Dakota might sell for up to $15 million at an auction in New York next month.
The skull weighs in at 200-pounds and is nicknamed Maximus.
As for the rest of the body, it might never be found. Dead bodies are eaten by scavengers and rivers and flood waters often wash the bones around, scattering them for miles.
The skull was excavated in 2020 and 2021 in Harding County, South Dakota, where other T. rex skeletons like Sue and Stan were found, according to Cassandra Hatton, Sotheby’s head of science and popular culture. She called the area “the world capital for T. rexes.” (AP News).
This is a big head. It's 6 1/2-foot and about 76 million years old. It even has most of its teeth.
With a find like this, battle scars are a plus.
Hatton said two large puncture holes in the skull are evidence of a big fight, probably with another T. rex. “We don’t know that this is what caused the death of this animal, but we can tell that it did have a major battle during its lifetime,” she said. (AP News).
So who ends up with it and where does it go?
Honestly, it could end up in somebody's home, for the right price.
Have you seen Wyoming's Dinosaur Hunter TV Show?
These ranchers are making big bucks digging up old bones.
Last year a captivating show about dino hunting in northern Wyoming and southern Montana aired for the first time. It showed how ranchers, who are living on the edge in that part of the country, are making ends meet and perhaps could make it rich as they dig up dinosaur bones on their own property.
Millions of years ago the region we now call The West was much different than it is now. The area was wet and tropical. Massive creatures roamed the land.
When one of these creatures died, if their body fell into the right stuff, it might be preserved through the fossilization process. This is much like a natural cement forming around the dead animal. In most cases, this happened after the body was already picked clean by predators, bugs, and any other organic life that would eat away at its flesh. In most cases, just the bones were left.
Other organic materials, such as plants, organic marsh goop, trees, and bugs ended up farther underground. Immense heat and pressure known as the coalification process turned that stuff into the coal we dig up today.
Back up on the surface; millions of years later, through rain and wind erosion, the "cement casing" begins to dissolve and bones reveal themselves. Wyoming ranchers have learned to spot them. When they find something that looks good they pause ranching and start digging.
A bone here or there can bring in hundreds of dollars. Something more or something rare can bring in thousands. Enough of a skeleton can bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some finds can bring in MILLIONS!
These folks need to save their ranches. They are hoping for that big find.
Season 2 of Dino Hunters is now available for streaming on Discovery Channel. The trailer is below.
Season one left viewers wondering about some of the important finds these ranchers-turned-paleontologists have found.
Will they be able to sell the most complete T-Rex, Named Cowboy Rex, that has ever been found?
Besides watching these ranchers discover fascinating finds you'll also learn more about what once walked the Earth than you ever thought you could know. These ranchers have educated themselves to the point that any one of them could teach a college course. Some of them should receive honorary degrees.
It's fascinating to watch how they know where the bones are. How they dig. How they preserve what are at times crumbling bones. Then how they try to sell them.
I was worried that season 2 might not make it. I'm glad the producers decided to continue the series.