Science

North Dakota high school students discover rare fossils

Posted July 13

— A group of North Dakota high school students have uncovered rare fossils estimated to be from an era shortly after dinosaurs went extinct.

The fossils discovered during a dig Wednesday include the jaw of a 60 million-year-old mammal and a crocodile tooth, paleontologist Jeff Person told The Bismarck Tribune (http://bit.ly/2uVmiHJ ). The students also found several fish vertebrae and mussel shells.

"We've been finding fossils pretty much everywhere," said Cameron Brown, one of the students involved in the dig.

The mammal jaw discovered will assist paleontologists in determining a more precise estimate of the age of the fossils found.

"That very well could be the find of the week," said Clint Boyd, a senior paleontologist.

Student Ashley Ulmer said she found the jaw fossil of a mouse-sized mammal when she began digging in an area away from the rest of the group.

Students from Century and Legacy high schools participated in the fossil dig with paleontologists for a field trip near Medora for their summer biology classes.

"It connects to everything we've been learning all throughout the summer," said Andee Woodmansee, a biology teacher.

Community members will continue to assist paleontologists dig at the site for the week. It's one of four fossil digs the Geological Survey is hosting this summer.

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