Montana man discovers new dinosaur species
BILLINGS, Mont. - A Montana man searching for dinosaur bones on his property makes a discovery. Now, more than a decade later, researchers learn it was a much bigger find than originally thought.
In 2005, Dr. Bill Shipp, a retired nuclear physicist, said he was exploring his property near the Judith River Formation with a paleontologist, when they spotted a large dinosaur bone.
Shipp said it took two years to excavate the bones. It took another year to have them professionally cleaned, and almost another to have molds made of the bones so casts could be made.
"People ask me that all the time," Shipp said. "How did I find it? Did I trip over it? I usually say no, I found it accidentally on purpose. I was actually looking for it, but I had no expectation whatsoever of finding anything. I was just trying to learn how to find something. And it's one of those once in a lifetime situations that probably will never be repeated for me anyway."
The Canadian Museum of Nature announced Wednesday the bones belong to a new species of horned dinosaur.
Museum Paleontologist Dr. Jordan Mallon analyzed the fossils and gave it the name Spiclypeus Shipporum. The first part is a combination of two latin words meaning "spiked shield," which the museum said refers to the dinosaur's impressive head frill and triangular spikes. The last part of the name honors the Shipp family. It is more commonly known by its nickname, Judith, after the area where it was found.
Mallon said the plant-eating dinosaur lived about 76 million years ago.
Shipp said he's honored Mallon named the species after his family. He said he still searches for fossils, and still finds some. But he doesn't expect he'll ever make a discovery like this again.
"I haven't given up, but it's like getting that trophy elk the first time you go hunting," Shipp said. "After that, it's sort of down hill and the expectations, although I'm an optimist, the truth is the expectations are pretty low that I could ever in my whole life repeat that."