Minnesota dinosaurs

It’s front-page news in the Minneapolis Star Tribune today! A dinosaur fossil was found in Minnesota!

It’s kind of a sad thing, though. This is it.


Yeah, one rather worn claw. But it is rare.

The fully intact claw, thought to be about 90 million years old, is only Minnesota’s third piece of dinosaur remains ever documented, experts say.

We have excuses. Through much of the late Cretaceous, we were under an inland sea — “The most common finds include shark teeth, clams, snails and ammonites, or prehistoric coiled shells” — and then we got bulldozed by these giant walls of ice called glaciers, so this is not the best place to go looking for the remains of large terrestrial tetrapods from the Mesozoic.

But it made the front page! Even if we’re going to get condescending grins from Alberta and Montana and Utah.


  1. microraptor says

    I feel for you.

    The only dinosaur fossil discovered in Oregon was barely not in California and found on a piece of rock that had been shifted by tectonic activity. So it was really a Californian who was trying to sneak in unannounced!

  2. moarscienceplz says

    Yeah, but California has still exposed rocks that were rubbed smooth by mammoths!
    Not to mention the La Brea tar pits.

  3. robro says

    Aren’t you forgetting the Bachmann’s, that clad of living dinosaurs famously from Minnesota?

    Don’t feel too bad about being aquatic 80 million years ago. The part of California I live on didn’t even exist 80 million years ago, or even 20 million years ago, as it hadn’t been spewed out of the Earth’s guts yet.

    microraptor: Not too many dinosaur fossils found in California, either, but we can share.

  4. blf says

    You mean R. bachmann isn’t a dinosaur?
    Or that matter, the R.‘s (common name: thugs) in general…

  5. Larry says

    The part of California I live on didn’t even exist 80 million years ago, or even 20 million years ago

    Read John McPhee’s Assembling California for a fascinating description of just why that is. California is so new it’s still got the new land smell.

    As an aside, read John McPhee for a fascinating description of anything he chooses to writes about!

  6. robro says

    Larry — I read McPhee a few years ago. I also have this great little book published by an elderly geologist some years ago of geological walking tours he lead around San Francisco. I’ve tried to follow some of them, and it’s fascinating to begin to get a picture like that of the place where you live.

  7. Al Dente says

    About 300 million years ago, the area where I live was a mountain range similar to the Alps or Rockies, stretching from the Arkansas to Scotland, in the middle of Pangaea. That’s what happens when Africa plows into the North American craton.

  8. rq says

    “Fully intact”? Please. It’s missing the sharpest bit off the end there. There’s no point in calling it fully intact if it’s missing the tip.

  9. Pierce R. Butler says

    rq @ # 11 – Pls remember where they found this claw.

    Have no doubt it came from a very nice dinosaur.

  10. Stardrake says

    robro @5 and blf@6: R. bachmann is actually an invasive species of dinosaur from Iowa, that has sadly established itself in Minnesota.

  11. Erp says

    Hmm, my mother’s home village is very proud of the many early dinosaur fossils found there. It was where some of the first identified dinosaur fossils were found (iguanodon and Hylaeosaurus) by Gideon Mantell.