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Dinosaur Horns Assortment

Dinosaur Horns Assortment
Dinosaur Horns Assortment

Dinosaur Horns Assortment

These are nose horns from various Triceratops with perhaps a dermal scute from Ankylosaur in the front row that looks like Apollo 11 re-entry capsule.

Each horn has it’s story regarding how I found it, the “Eureka” moment, the rush of adrenaline. I have only prepped the rear one. As they were found, the remaining stay. Restoration occurred on the BIG horn in the rear. It was in 80 separate pieces when I found it.. Restored to “pretty cool” condition. I’ll post it later. The best one is the smallest on up front row. It’s an amazing fossil.

Paleontological Musings:

Triceratops horns are like cattle horns in that they take on many different shapes even within the same group. These are all from the same bone bed I call “Horn Sieve Beds” as they have given up over 30 of them to me.

Hell Creek/Lance Formations are the Cretaceous River Sands/muds is where the last of the dinosaurs hung out. Both formations cover our ranch. We span the MT/WY state line. There the Formations change names formally. Same rocks, different name.🤣

I got my masters degree around most things Paleo-Environmental……. I might have been one of the first Pale-environmentalist ever minted lolol. There is another that will read this I graduated with. Hi Dave!

So, paleo-topography when this dinosaur roamed was a broad equatorial coastal plain sloping like the piedmont of North Carolina east facing toward the then interior sea way stretching from the current Gulf of Mexico across the continent to Canada.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Dinosaur Horns Assortment

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T-rex Tooth in the Rough

T-rex Tooth in the Rough
T-rex Tooth in the Rough

T-rex Tooth in the Rough

Yup, a Tyrannosaurus tooth sitting in the matrix. Wrapping it up for the trip back to the ranch headquarters is the next order of business. There it will be cleaned at my leisure when I get a pile of such things to clean so it’s worth setting up the micro-air-abrasive fossil cleaning cabinet. The black enamel of the tooth is etch by tiny rootlets that covered the surface. The chemical reactions at the rootlets deeply marked the enamel of the tooth.

Fossil Teeth: Selective preservation…

Teeth were “plentiful with many per dinosaur. They often broke off, the new ones erupting from below. Shed teeth were called spitters.They were literally spit out or lost eating. Some teeth passed through the digestive system. Quaintly named (sh**ers) by collectors. I’ve been told by older and more experienced paleontologists the way you tell the difference is their taste…… 😜

Here pictured next to the 6 inch wood awl that I used to dig it out of the Hell Creek/Lance Formation quarry wall. I have a 50 foot long by 4 feet thick in the center, river channel filled with mixed debris. This debris was dropped by the river for a reason. The current velocity dropped enough to leave what it carried here, behind. The bigger/heavier things came out first so we find a lot of big bones. The little things concentrated somewhere else with a lower current velocity.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: T-rex Tooth in the Rough

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Dinosaur by Frank Bliss

Dinosaur by Frank Bliss
Dinosaur by Frank Bliss

Dinosaur by Frank Bliss

I only get 4 words for a title in the software I use to compose these narratives. This title is much better/shorter than “Underside of Unknown Dinosaur’s Skull showing the Foramen Magnum”. That hole on the right side of the skulls bottom is the opening into the brain case. That is the size of the nerve cord of the neck of this creature. OK, it’s not the whole dinosaur, just a partial skull lol. Alternative title: 2 Boneheads…

The Cretaceous Hell Creek Sandstones that blanket our ranch has a host of different fossils that are coaxed out of the rock under my gentle tool work. I use a wood awl and some paint brushes most of the time to do this kind of recovery. The sandstone is not terribly hard /”indurated” ( your google word). It generally crumbles under the pick leaving the bone unsupported. It’s a good thing superglue is available by the pint. We use thinned super-glues liberally to soak into the bone and stabilize it.

I’ve shown this skull bottom to several full time dinosaur people and they have no idea either. Everybody knows them from the face/top, not from underneath the skull lolol. I would have to show this to a technician that has happened to do work on this particular animal to key/ID this. More than that I’m not willing to say. Someone whispered T-rex but I’m not a believer. It doesn’t remind me of raptor bone which is usually quite “spongy” with large vacuoles in the bone marrow. I’m not seeing it here. It’s not bird like that I can see. Someone out there may know??

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana).

Title: Dinosaur by Frank Bliss

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Cretaceous Ankylosaurus Armor/ Scutes

Cretaceous Ankylosaurus Armor/ Scutes
Cretaceous Ankylosaurus Armor/ Scutes

Cretaceous Ankylosaurus Armor/ Scutes

Kinda looks like just rocks don’t they? “Leaverites” Knowledge is power I point out.

Dinosaurs often had chunks of bone growing on their skin to act as armor. “Osteoderms” are commonly known as Scutes. Many creatures have them. Crocs and Alligators come to mind. Skin surrounded these bony armor chunks They fit tightly in a network of armor to protect the turtle shaped dinosaur with the clubbed /spiked tail from bites. These are remarkably rare. I’ve found these three in 20 years. I’ve found way more T-rex teeth for example and they aren’t exactly growing on trees up here lolol. Ankylosaurs were 20 feet long and 5 foot high at the hips.

Out of curiousity I looked up some pricing on similar items on the commercial market (I have NEVER sold and never will sell a fossil). The smaller one would be in the 500 dollar range and the larger in the 1000 dollar range. I knew they were uncommon but I didn’t know there was a demand for them. Ankylosarids are rare in the upper Cretaceous. Again, they are NOT for sale. They are in the ranch collection of over 10K fossils at this point.

Disclaimer: The Bliss Dinosaur Ranch is 99 percent private land. Deeded ground is the only place it is illegal to collect ANY vertebrate material (if it had a backbone, leave it alone) on public land. BLM, state and Tribal land is off limits. See a turtle shell, leave it lay. On government ground, artifacts from humans are also best left alone. They can definitely get you in big trouble. Invertebrate fossils and wood are a different story. I suggest the Bureau of Land Managements website for further information.

Our ranch is completely covered by the Cretaceous Hell Creek/Lance Formation. Problem is, there is a lot of grass here too lolol.

Location: Cretaceous Hell Creek Lance Formation, Horn Sieve Bed, Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands Coll: Frank Bliss
Title:Cretaceous Ankylosaurus Armor/ Scutes

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Dinosaur Dromaeosaur Tooth Serrations

Dinosaur Dromaeosaur Tooth Serrations
Dinosaur Dromaeosaur Tooth Serrations

Dinosaur Dromaeosaur Tooth Serrations

This is a view of a nice tooth on it’s inside concave edge showing clearly the serrations on the edge of the raptor tooth. The serrations weren’t used so much to cut meat but to hold onto meat bitten into. Thusly “ripping” muscle with the neck muscles and the teeth holding on. Rough way to catch fast food. This 66 million year old or so chomper in the mouth of a 8 foot high dinosaur that resembled a bird with teeth and a tail. Most of the rest of the bone structure are very similar to modern birds. The lighter lines on the darker enamel is where capillary roots have chemically etched the tooth’s enamel. This was found close enough to the surface for root action to effect the surface. Another possible explanation is stomach acid has etched the surface of the tooth.

I really enjoy finding nice dinosaur teeth here in the Cretaceous Hell Creek Sands that blanket this ranch. OF the 5 square miles of land we own, MAYBE one acre has fossils on it and there are 25 places that add up to that acre. We do have one bone bed for larger material but this came out of a sandy pit I dug by hand. I find “microsites” sticking in the exposed hillsides that are indeed fossilferous.

Anything that was alive with “hard parts” at the time in the dinosaurs environment is also possible to find. The rivers current sorted fossils by shape weight and size. Thusly concentrating fossils in one spot where the river dropped them. Microsites usually mean small teeth but this honker is an inch and a half long. The glass is 3/16 plate (blue line). That is a glass shelf in my lit display case.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands (Wyotana)

Title: Dinosaur Dromaeosaur Tooth Serrations

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Pachycephalosaur Phalange: Hoof/Toe

Pachycephalosaur Phalange: Hoof/Toe
Pachycephalosaur Phalange: Hoof/Toe

Dinosaur: Pachycephalosaur Phalange… Hoof/Toe (Real Big Wyoming Critters lolol).

I have read that Pachycephalosaur fossils of any kind constitute only about 1 percent of the fossil record. This toe nail’s journey started 66 million years ago in a sand choked river flowing to the eastern sea. The Hell Creek/Lance Formations (uppermost Cretaceous) is a terrestrial deposit consisting of 700 feet of sand. We have the upper 3 or 4 hundred feet of the formation exposed on our ranch. Of course we are a grassy ranch so somewhere under that grass is a REALLY NICE fossil but I can’t see it. I might have driven over the complete t-rex a hundred times and would have no idea. 

I have found 25 micro-sites…sand deposits of coarsely sorted sands mixed with small fossils. Many teeth, small bones, fragments of almost anything alive in the environment besides dinosaurs.. Even occasional really nice claws come out of the micro-sites. 1 amazing bone bed exists on my ranch that I’ve located. I have mined that location for 17 years now. I call it the “Horn Sieve bed because of the 30 (ish) triceratops horns that have come out of the dig over the years. The dense bone and hydrodynamic shape combined for more of those to drop out of the rivers current at my particular “bend in the river”. The current dropped here and dropped all that dense bone on the river bed. The light stuff kept on going down river. 

Most Hell Creek Bone that I’ve collected has been transported by river systems. Often soon to be fossils were buried and re-excavated several times as the big rivers swept back and forth on the alluvial plain. Lots to know about dinosaur and paleoenvironment lolo. 

Title: Pachycephalosaur Phalange: Hoof/Toe

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Chicken From Hell Tooth

Chicken From Hell Tooth
Chicken From Hell Tooth

OK, it’s not a Chicken from Hell tooth, it’s a Paronychodon sp. (Larson 2008) tooth from the Hell Creek/Lance formation. From my “backyard” The scale is in inches.

Paronychodon besides being rediculous to spell, is relatively hard to find fossil dinosaur tooth. You’ve heard as “Rare as Hensteeth” before? Payonychodon was an Avian Dinosaur…a bird with teeth, claws and a tail with feathers covering it’s body. Sort of a big turkey with inch long teeth/tail. I’m thinking they wouldn’t be a good addition to the modern turkey. Anyone that hasn’t seen human habituated turkeys interacting with UPS drivers (for instance) doesn’t have access to youtube lolol. Some wonderful videos are out there with turkeys chasing just about everything. So just add some teeth to the equation….great lololol. 😂

There is a rumor that dinosaurs went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous. Let me clarify that a bit.. Most dinosuar died during that punctuated extinction event. The ones that are still flying around us survived the extinction obviously. A quick comparison of T-rex anatomy and any modern bird will show MANY similarities in bone structure, utilization of lightly built mostly hollow bones for weight savings while maintaining strength. The comparisons can keep coming. Just look at any modern bird toe bone and compare it to a t-rex toe bone. Except for size….they are about the same design built by the same engineer.

This little tooth belonged to a flying, fighting carnivorous meat eater with a bad attitude. The only fast food on the menu was the stuff that got away. No 7-11 on the corner in the Cretaceous up here on the Montana/Wyoming border.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Site 9 by my field notebook. Surface. Cretaceous, HellCreek/Lance formation. Pretty much on the border of Montana/Wyoming.

Title: Chicken from Hell Tooth

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Cretaceous Raptor Dinosaur Teeth

Cretaceous Raptor Dinosaur Teeth
Cretaceous Raptor Dinosaur Teeth

Cretaceous Raptor Dinosaur Teeth: In my “backyard”… Real Big Wildlife, not the little critters we have running around now lolol.

Genuine medium sized T-rex teeth don’t grow on trees. . You don’t find or see these every day up here. We find maybe one every year on average. It’s hard to find them this nice. They are fragile at best plus they aren’t that common. Smaller teeth are more common as there were more smaller animals running around the environment.

The extra image below is a Cretaceous version of “Velociraptor”. It was a Cretaceous relative that paleontologists named Dromaeosaur. Note the serrations and obvious brown enameloid surface. This oak colored preservation is unique to one of my 25 microsites. All other teeth are black here. Again, looks remarkably like a dinosaur tooth. (The squares are an inch on a side). Serrations actively held on to meat bitten into, ripping it away.

These fossils were well preserved even after the owner broke them off. There is still a little bit of the root still attached (the browner part on the left ). The little white lines on the big tooth are chemical etching. This is related to either stomach acid and/or etchings from plant rootlets on the surface of the enamel. The enamel is essentially unchanged since the owner lost it over 66 million years ago.

These are both Hell Creek/Lance formation fossils. I have several of these bigger T-rex teeth . There are many hundreds of smaller other teeth in the ranch collection. These were found over 2 decades of hard work. Interestingly, they ALL to a one look like and actual tooth. Many people mistake rocks with random shapes for teeth. Not many are or were.

Pseudofossils:

I see many NON fossils (fake fossils) on the internet that look like teeth all the time. They are always random shapes of rocks that look like say a tooth… The human mind easily sees shapes in random data. Problem is, they have NO actual substance of a tooth. Most pseudofossils will have NO enamel. No tooth structures internally, no serrations on the edges, nothing that says tooth to a paleontologist. With no microstructure and 3D biology, there is no fossil there.

Pseudofossils may be very interesting and worth picking up. Cool stuff, they just aren’t fossils. These rocks have no biological history in their past thusly are not fossils. .

My background: (I have a masters degree in a Paleontological Field and have been running the Bliss DInosaur Ranch for 20 years. Digging DInosaurs in my spare time.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Cretaceous Raptor Dinosaur Teeth.

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Dinosaur Vertebral Neural Canal

Dinosaur Vertebral Neural Canal
Dinosaur Vertebra Nerve Canal

Looking through a Dinosaur Vertebral Neural Canal in this “Centrum” (vertebra without it’s external processes)

I saw this centrum sitting about in my outdoor rock pile lightly frosted and saw the possibilities lol. The top view is something that not many have seen. The hole is big enough to get your thumb in.

This vertebra was from the lower back area of a Hadrosaur (duckbill) dinosaur. It was found sitting on the surface in the grass at one of my sites. Sometimes all I have to do is walk around and pick stuff up lol. The neural canal was the first information super-highway. Long before fiber optics lolol.

Cretaceous Dinosaurs here in “Cretaceous Country.” Jurassic Park is way older. The End of the Cretaceous was the end of the rule of the dinosaurs over the earth. Those rocks are exposed here on ranch… The Hell Creek/Lance formations here are upper most Cretaceous sands deposited by huge sweeping rivers choked with sand. Bones were like wood then (and as big as branches mostly). Lots of small fossils too are present. Fossils of anything else that was in and around the water are discoverable along with the dinosaur stuff.

Everybody came down to drink sooner or later and was predated. The bones eventually got into the water and covered by fine grained sands and muds pretty quickly. The rivers were dumping sands by the boatload so the soon to be fossil got covered deeply quickly.

The missing processes are a result of being transported by the rivers. Any particular bone might have been buried, then re-excavated by the rivers moving back and forth meandering across the lands. We were just slightly north of the equator at the time. The continent was rotated about 90 degrees from how it is now.

Rule 1 of geology: Processes we observe today, were the same as in the past and will be in the future. Seems logical but some argue with this for what ever reason. I’m good with that.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Title: Dinosaur Vertebral Neural Canal

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Triceratops Vertebra with Processes

Triceratops Vertebra with Processes
Triceratops Vertebra with Processes

While finding a Cretaceous age Triceratops Vertebra with Processes still attached is possible, it doesn’t happen very often with an isolated fossil not attached to another bone.

Geologic Musings:

I spent many years working on determining paleo-environments. It the environment of deposition that produced rock deposits. This can be determined from any number of clues left in the rocks. (Wrote a Masters thesis on this). I am biostratigraphically and sedimentologically very aware of how this Triceratops vertebra with processes got to be here…cer. There are many indications to what was going on during it’s deposition. This Bentonitic Clay rich Mud was on the edge of a lake. This deposit consisted of what was then Volcanic Ash as a “dump” was washed into the lake hydraulically. That washed in volcanic “mud” made a “deltaic” intrusion into the much larger lake.

This particular bed of sediment I have traced over about 2 square miles. I loose visual on the bed as it disappears either underground or has been removed by erosion. So this was a pretty big lake and a big delta deposit into that lake. Represented is not a high energy Splay deposit that might exist next to a big natural river levy (highest things on the landscape probably). It’s not high energy like a splay proven from the lack of larger chunks of plant matter….

There were BIG rivers sweeping back then. Sweeping back and forth carrying LOTS of sand during this time in Wyoming/Montana. The sand was mixed along with this finer material (clays) by the boat load and dumping it. Low energy let the fine clays settle out (like in lakes). Otherwise the clays (size term just like sand) would stay in suspension in agitated water. This had to be a calm environment like a lake. Most of my Hell Creek Fossils are found in RIver NOT lake deposits by the way lol.

Considerations:

That volcanic ash was altered over the 66 million intervening years into “Bentonite” which is an incomplete description of the sediment. Bentonite is just ONE Clay mineral that is represented here. Dozens of clay minerals are in this mix. Digging in this stuff is like pushing a wood awl through very thick hard modeling clay. Sometimes you can get it in a few inches, others just a quarter of an inch. You stick and pluck the awl and slowly clear off sediment to facilitate this treasures removal. It’s all very moist and most of the fossils have a white crust around them. They usually clean up beautifully brown.

Overview

Maybe 20 percent of this Triceratops was recovered nearby this isolated Triceratops vertebra with processes. We finally all gave up looking for more of the carcass. It could be 1 inch down and we wouldn’t know it lolol. It’s bones were obviously scattered/fed on and stepped on after it floated into the lake at least once. I noted that ALMOST all the bone fossils in this deposit were laying flat horizontal to the lake bottom. One rib was obviously stepped on as it was broken in half with 1/2 of it being vertical. It was pushed down into the mud by someone walking over. I’ve found coprolites (fossil poop) here too. This would be indicating that active feeding and pooping was happening for a while. Also found a smaller raptor tooth in the mix. (Dromaeosaur richaroestacia. (sic).

The soft organic rich mud covering the fossil was rich in small fragments macerated plant matter. This is an obvious lake deposit covering several square miles at a minimum. The energy was very low here. Calm water, no doubt shallow as the wading dinosaurs confirm. There was not a lot of topography on the Hell Creek Formations mostly sandy river deposits on a broad sweeping plane. Much of a rib cage was recovered along with a scapula and several other very nice fossils from this animal. I found this site by tracing a big chunk of Triceratops Brow Horn back up hill to where it came from. Took a few looks lol.

Location: Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

Triceratops Vertebra with Processes

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T-rex’s Middle Toe Bone…just before the Killing Claw!

T-rex's Middle Toe Bone...just before the Killing Claw!
T-rex's Middle Toe Bone...just before the Killing Claw!

There is a reason we are called the “Bliss Dinosaur Ranch. T-rex’s Middle Toe Bone, Just before the HIGHLY desirable killing claw is a rare bone being on 2 per T-rex. The T-rex’s only constitute 2 percent of the fossil volume found in the Hell Creek Formation. This is about 1/400th of the volume of a t-rex’s skeletons proportionality so 1/400th of 2 percent.

Here the bone is still moist and has sand all over it from it’s excavation from a burial of 66 million years or more. . It was quite perfect (still is), needed NO superglue to hold it together or repair it in any way. (way unusual)
It is also rare for a river water deposited bone to be “perfect” after being washed unknown miles down an ancient river, buried, washed away in a scour or channel change, rinse and repeat for 3 million years of this sand being dumped by huge rivers from the highlands to the west of here transported by water and left here for me to dig in.. I earned a Masters Degree along the way in a related geologic field to Paleontology and have been a geologist/paelontologist since I was 5 years old.
It was no coincidence I moved to this spot 20 years ago. The geologic maps said this ranch was covered in younger rocks than the dinosaurs. I knew they were wrong when I asked the guy who dug all the wells in the area how far down it was to Fox Hill formation which is the local aquifer (he had worked in the area of our ranch) where everyone around here gets their water. Hell Creek is 700 feet thick. Fox Hill is the Beach Sand that the DInosaurs walked on and is stratigraphically lower/under the terrestrial Hell Creek DInosaur Bearing sand. 700 feet of Hell Creek minus 500 feet to Fox Hill made me suspect there was at least 200 feet of Hell Creek fossiliferous (possibly) layers on the surface. I was right and it was a few years before I figured out where 25 micro-sites and a bone quarry were . I also located a partial triceratops on a neighboring ranch. There are a few other spots I know of…🤔

There are in excess of 10K fossils in the ranch collection currently. Before you ask, I do not nor ever will sell fossils. They will go as a collection to a museum some day.

FYI, it is illegal to collect vertebrate remains on public/BLM/State/Indian land. Leave them be. You can only legally collect such fossils from private deeded land. So before you look, ask the landowner for permission…preferably written and no I don’t have people randomly come up here to look around on their own. No horn collectors, no hunters please. This is a private ranch.

The Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Killing Raptor Claw from the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch

Killing Raptor Claw from the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch
Killing Raptor Claw from the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch

This 3 inch killing claw from a good sized Raptorian Dinosaur found here on the Bliss Dinosaur Ranch by me back in 2005. I was digging in an outcrop of Hell Creek Formation here on ranch (private deeded land) and his fell out into my grubby sandblasted hands. These don’t drop out of the rock every day I point out. Only one found in 18 years of working the rocks…I’m still looking for the 10 inch one.

We are covered in Hell Creek Sands. I’m a retired guy/geologist with a paleontologic graduate degree who eventually bought a ranch that only I knew had dinosaur fossil on it. I didn’t know where they were but I knew they were here. …..As soon as the water well people told me that Fox Hill sandstone (the aquifer ) was 500 feet below the surface, I knew as a paleo interested geolgist that the 700 foot thick sequence of the dinosaur fossil bearing Hell Creek Formation would be at the surface. The USGS geologic maps of the area disagreed with me. They were wrong lolol.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.

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Crimson Sunrise #224

Crimson Sunrise #224
Crimson Sunrise #224

Good Sunday Morning from the Bliss DInosaur Ranch, Crimson Sunrise #244 is a fairly recent capture of mine from last month before the ice age.

I’m setting this image up to post on face book about a week before it posted and your actually reading this. (I answer in real time) so I’m predicting an ice age between now and then :).

Time Warp🤣 I have to think a week ahead now lolol.

Location: Bliss Dinosaur Ranch, Wyoming/Montana borderlands.