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A beginners guide to finding dinosaur fossils
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Where to go?

Fossils live in formations
Dinosaur fossils are impossible to find unless you know where to look. (So, put down the shovel and stop digging up your backyard!)
Dinosaur fossils can be found in portions of the Earth's crust that are as old as the dinosaurs you are looking for. In geology these "portions" are called . There are hundreds of different formations within the United States.
The where you can look at the formations by location... maybe you have a formation close by from the era of the dinosaurs!
What type of dinosaurs are you looking for?
Dinosaurs lived on the Earth for 150 million years(!). And, the over 1000 species of dinosaurs did not all live together simultaneously in the same place and time.
Those dioramas you've seen of a Tyrannosaurus rex munching on a Stegosaurus? Impossible. Stegosauruses lived during the Jurassic period (around 150 million years ago), whereas the T-rex lived during the Late Cretaceous (68 Mya).
What kind of dinosaurs are you interested in? This handy picker will help you figure out what period of formation to look for.
Era:
Late Cretaceous

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Tyrannosaurus
Late Cretaceous
2
Triceratops
Late Cretaceous
3
Velociraptor
Late Cretaceous
4
Ankylosaurus
Late Cretaceous
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Finding a formation for your era
Now that you know what types of dinosaurs you are interested in and the era they're from, you'll be saddened to know that only a number of formations from that era are actually fossil-producing.
The author has hunted for fossils from the Cretaceous period... some accessible formations from this era are in Eastern Montana, Eastern Wyoming, and Western South Dakota and are listed below.
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Find some land!
[Cannot hunt on state land]
[No tresspassing on private land]
[Make sure you get permission in writing]


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