Jane the Dinosaur is a true Rockford celebrity, and the 66-year-old "dynamo" could potentially have a new friend. Last year a group of people with the Burpee Museum were digging about a half mile from where Jane's remains were found, and scientists say they could have a big find right under their hands.
Last July, Rockford architect Helmuth Redschlag noticed something sticking up from the rocky ground in Ekalaka, Montana.
"We found evidence of a triceratops skeleton, and we're quite excited as to how much we found in such a short period of time, and we received permission to go back this year and try to dig up the rest of what we found," says Redschlag.
Now the man who made the spotting, Burpee leaders, scientists and some eager dinosaur hunters are heading back to the badlands of Montana. Burpee director Lew Crampton says the triceratops was scavenged unmercifully, so no complete versions of the dino have ever been found.
"We're hopeful we can get some complete or close to complete remains, which would be a huge rarity like Jane has been for us. Or, another possibility, this could be a juvenile triceratops; there aren't any of those anywhere," says Crampton.
The group will also be digging at two other sites. Another promising area could contain edmontosaurus remains.
"We may be in the middle of what's called a bone bed, which is a place where a lot of dinosaurs either died off at one time, or dinosaurs' died elsewhere and the water sort of drove them to one spot," says Crampton.
Although a triceratops, dubbed Homer, may not have the same scientific impact that a juvenile t-rex named Jane has had, he would bring enormous entertainment value to the region, and Burpee's capital campaign, of which $5 million has been raised so far, would create a comfortable home for Jane and a very big friend.
A fully grown triceratops is about the size of a school bus. We'll be keeping you updated on the dinosaur dig all next week. Burpee will be leading two more trips later this summer. A group from BIU will also be digging in the same area. Anything found by the group will be displayed at Burpee.