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Blackleaf Fm: Montana
Josh Bonde wades through the long grass. In the background are exposures of the Blackleaf Fm in SW Montana

Articulated metatarsals of a hypsilophodontid, probably Oryctodromeus

In mid-August 2005 I assisted Dr David Varricchio (Montana State University) in the Cretaceous Blackleaf (Montana) and Wayan (Wyoming & Idaho) Formations. Here I helped collect the [now famous] burrowing dinosaur Oryctodromeus (Varricchio et al 2007), along with other hypsilophodont material, theropod eggshell, leaf impressions, and in extracting and identifying what is currently Idaho's largest known dinosaur: an undescribed ankylosaur.

Varricchio, D.J., Martin, A. J. , and Katsura, Y. (2007) First trace and body fossil evidence of a burrowing, denning dinosaur. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B , v. 274, n. 1616, p. 1361-1368.

[PDF] hosted at Dr. Martin's homepage



Our campsite was set amongst some dramatic scenery on the forested mountainside. My fellow diggers had provided me with a warm tent... but Josh had forgotten to pack any poles. A tent of sorts was constructed by means of some handy rope work and a couple of lengthy sticks, suspending the canvas from trees on the edge of the forest. Subsequently being a short distance away from all the other tents at night and enclosed in the dense gloom of the woods, I was mildly concerned I might make a hearty breakfast for a maurauding grizzly. Turns out there were no bears, but we did encounter an irate moose, and there were plenty of wolves around who would howl through the night. That was very cool.

My first morning in camp was greeted by a frost... in August! Sat on the bonnet of the truck is the remainder of some beers I brought over from England with me, for the field crew

This is the actual burrow and partial skeletons (jacketed) of Oryctodromeus as originally exposed in the field

A phalanx from one of the Oryctodromeus

Using a makeshift stretcher, the burrow jacket is carried back for study at MSU