Jordan ,Northeast Montana

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Difficult to believe now, but 80 million years ago the middle of our continent was a shallow sea. This area, when not underwater, was part of a hot, humid tropical coastline of marshes, river deltas, and swamps, bearing dense vegetation probably similar to that found on the southern coast of Louisiana today.

Fossils tell us that turtles, crocodiles, lizards, toads, fishes, small primitive mammals, and dinosaurs lived on this coastal plain. Many of the most complete dinosaurs on display in the world were gathered here in Garfield County. The first Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton came out of its hills in 1902. In fact, four of the six tyrannosaurs found in the world are from Garfield County and five of the six are from Montana. The Garfield County Museum in Jordan holds replicas of a tyrannosaur skull, a duckbill dinosaur skull, and a triceratops skeleton.

Paleontologists were puzzled by the scarcity of young dinosaurs and eggs in this rich fossil area. One explanation was discovered in 1978 on the eastern front of the Rocky Mountains about 300 miles west of here. Hundreds of eggs from at least three different dinosaur species and thousands of whole and partial dinosaur skeletons were found. This new evidence indicates that the dinosaurs migrated from the coast to the mountains to lay their eggs and raise their young. One may see fossils from this site at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana.


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