Dinosaurs and MOR!

More than 2,050 visitors attended the “Dinosaurs and MOR” event at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman April 12-14, and the BLM was there to greet them.

Four BLMers representing diverse areas of responsibility staffed a booth at the show. They were Dot Van Oss, geologist; Greg Liggett, state office paleontologist; Jaime Tompkins, National Conservation Lands, Environmental Education, and Youth Program lead; and Cami Liggett, land law examiner.

Smiling young girl feels fossils at a table covered in black
A girl visiting the BLM booth at the Museum of the Rockies’ “Dinosaurs and MOR” event feels the smooth surface of a baculites fossil collected on BLM-managed land in Valley County, Montana. Photo by Cami Liggett

The BLM booth included a large display of captivating minerals from Montana and South Dakota; real dinosaur bone fragments and a mammoth tooth for visitors to handle; stickers for the children and informational brochures for the adults; examples of real invertebrate fossils that the public can collect from BLM-managed lands; and casts of a short-faced bear skull, a Tyrannosaurus rex tooth, and a Triceratops brow horn. Activity booklets and posters proved especially popular. Most importantly, the booth featured conversations between the public and the BLMers, personalizing and putting a face on the work done by the BLM.

Two young children hold a triceratops horn cast that is almost as big as they are.
Two young visitors to the BLM booth at the Museum of the Rockies’ “Dinosaurs and MOR” event discover that a Triceratops horn cast is about their own size. Photo by Cami Liggett

In addition to members of the public, the “Dinosaurs and MOR” event drew several research paleontologists, many of whom apply for permits and study fossils from BLM-managed land. More than 20 paleontologists presented their research in talks on Saturday and Sunday. A banquet Saturday evening provided the opportunity for fossil-lovers to share their interest in paleontology. Children enjoyed events and activities designed just for them all weekend.

A table draped in black in a museum with life-sized dinosaur skeletons
With a Triceratops and a Tyrannosaurus looking on, the BLM booth at the Museum of the Rockies’ “Dinosaurs and MOR” event presented educational and informational materials related to public lands. Photo by Cami Liggett

The Museum of the Rockies is one of several museums that partner with the BLM to care for fossils recovered from BLM-managed lands. Much of private land has been closed off to researchers because landowners prefer to sell the fossils, so public land is increasingly important in the science of paleontology.

Cami Liggett, Land Law Examiner, Montana/Dakotas State Office