||In 2006, a team of
private fossil collectors from N.E. Montana happened upon one of the
greatest discoveries in paleontology history, named the "Paleo-Incident
Project"(PIP). This website will follow the project from start to
finish. The project is estimated to take between 2-3 years.
The PIP has several goals. The main goal is to prepare the original fossils and create molds from those fossils to record all of the scientific information. A second goal is to involve dinosaur enthusiasts of all ages to participate in the project. Through online interactive media, the PIP will call on everyone to be involved. There will be web-cam's to follow the project and chat rooms to talk with the fossil preparators and with the discovery team.
The PIP is just starting! Keep checking back as this site and the project grows.
Discovery Team & Story
& Gift Items
Preparing the Montana Dueling Dinosaurs!
Nearly 1 year was spent planning for a new preparation lab to uncover the Montana Dueling Dinosaurs. In April of 2007, a property was purchased to conduct the project on. The property contained a trailer house (CK Preparations office and dorm for visitors), and a 40' x 52' dirt floor shop. The next two months were spent turning the shop into a modern preparation lab. Today, it contains the most modern preparation equipment, an area for visitors to learn about the project and view the preparation, and the Montana Dueling Dinosaurs. A hi-definition videom camera was purchased to record the preparation process. Every minute of preparation on the meat eater has been recorded and will be available at a later date.
Journal Entry 7/14/07 (C. Morrow)
Yesterday was a great day. Clayton Phipps, Mark Eatman, and Chad O'Connor came to see the preparation of the meat eater skull. I worked until midnight last night outlining the skull so that it could be exposed when the group came. The goal was to expose the right profile of the skull and clean out the right maxilla area where the teeth appeared to be missing. It has been hoped that the teeth found in the neck and hip area of the ceratopsian would fit back into the dentition of the meat eater. This would provide fossil evidence that the meateater was biting on the plant eater while it was still alive, using enough aggression that it ripped the meat eater teeth right out of their sockets.
Clayton was excited to see the progress we had made (Katie and I). One of the most exciting discoveries was the evidence of skin on the ceratopsian back (see image below). The classic polygon shapes are present along with folding of the skin. The skin pattern is larger than any skin found to date, very exciting.
Skin section over the left illium
of the ceratopsian!
(Click on image for a larger view)
The delicate process of exposing the skull took about 5 hours. All that was done was defining the major elements in hopes of identifying the species of the meat eater. After that was complete, we set up to clean the sockets of the right maxilla. Using a microblaster, I slowely removed the sand covering the missing tooth areas. As the sand blew away, I could see shattered root outlines. This showed that the teeth were freshly broken out of the skull (see image below).
Looking down at the right maxilla.
You can see the fresh breaks in
the teeth that are missing.
(Click on image for a larger view)
Seeing the freah breaks in the teeth meant that the dinosaur lost its teeth just before burial. Will the teeth match up with the ones found on the Ceratopsian? Within 10 minutes, we matched up two teeth! Currently we can see that 13 are missing from the maxilla's. This means that the meat eater was biting the ceratops hard enougth to lose teeth! And bit it enough to lose about 65% of its maxilla teeth. The dentary teeth are inside the maxilla and so cannot be seen at this time, but how many are missing? Aggression of this caliber can only mean thaqt the meat eater was trying to kill the plant eater, scavenging is a much more delicate process, losing that many teeth would make it difficult for the meat eater to take down more prey. This meat eater was doing its best to kill an animal over 4 times its weight.
Everyone was excited to see this evidence on the fossils. It was an exciting ending to a very long and hot day.
HIGHLIGHTS OF PREPARATION (7/14/2007)
Below are some images of specific areas of interest on the fossils.
Visitor view of the prep. lab. Chris working on the meat eater skull
More coming soon!
directing the preparation of the PIP project. Visit them online at