Western South Dakota is a Goldmine for Paleontologists

Oct 1, 2014

Before miners and tourists came to western South Dakota, paleontologists were in the area digging up fossil remains of vanished creatures. In 1843 part of an ancient mammal's fossilized jawbone was found in the Badlands and the published paper on the find first started attracting the interest of paleontologists to the area.

Four decades later, the fossil and mineral collection of Professor G.E. Bailey formed the foundation for the Museum of Geology at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Today the museum’s extensive collections encompass fossil and mineral specimens from around the world along with historical documents, photographs, equipment, and recent biological specimens.

Darrin Pagnac is curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Museum of Geology. He joined Dakota Midday and explained why this area is one of the best places in the world for hunting fossils.