Becoming a dinosaur hunter

Published 7:00 am Saturday, March 31, 2018

While we’re young, there are several things that cross our minds as possible professions. 

Outside of the exciting fields of police officer, firefighter or EMT, and outside of the glamorous fields of rock star, actor or famous artist, are fields that are still sought after that show us about the past of this planet.

One such field previously considered in my younger days was to find and catalog fossils, particularly those of large dinosaurs or prehistoric mammals.

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During many sessions playing in the woods or while just digging in the dirt, the hope of finding a petrified bone, tooth or even just an old arrowhead crossed my mind.

But alas, I can’t recall ever finding an arrowhead, and would certainly remember finding a large dinosaur bone.

Over time that dream faded with the onset of the adult responsibilities that eat up so much of our time.

But could you imagine finding such a treasure while just digging around your property, especially as a child?

That’s what happened to three young boys during their spring break up in Bovina, Miss. While their find was not a large dinosaur bone from the likes of a Tyrannosaurus rex, it was from a furry elephant like creature that died off a bit more than 10,000 years ago and whose fossil record goes back millions of years, the mastodon. Some people have even found frozen mastodon remains in the colder areas of the planet.

The boy’s discovery was that of the now extinct animal’s lower jaw, complete with some teeth. Since it was found in our warmer climate of the south, they were lucky to find the bones. But the uncovering of bones on their family land will mean much more to these young men. Hopefully such a memorable experience will certainly be engrained in their memories for a lifetime, if not inspire them to seek out a career that involves digging up the history of our planet.