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Posted on: June 22, 2021

Ray-Pec student helps with dinosaur excavation

Nadia Hill 2

Nadia Hill, an incoming 8th grader at East Middle School, recently returned from participating in the excavation of the famous Triceratops dinosaur named Shady in the Badlands of South Dakota. 

The discovery of Shady made national news last year when the skull was excavated. Dr. David Schmidt, who runs the excavation site, is a family friend and invited Nadia to participate this year. She assisted in excavating ribs, vertebrae, and other parts of the body. Nadia also participated in a day of prospecting for new future excavation sites and saw vertebrae, a fossilized turtle shell, a hadrosaur jaw, a gastrolith, bone fragments, and a few artifacts in the rugged landscape.

Nadia said she learned about more than just excavations. The geologists and professors working on the site, National Forest Service rangers, and local ranchers all took time to share information about the rock layers, how to find amber, and about local wild herbs and grasses. She learned about laws related to excavations and collecting on public and private lands. A filmmaker was also there working on a documentary about the site.
Nadia said the most memorable moment was when she uncovered a new bone - and it wasn’t a rib, because everyone seemed a little tired of working on ribs by then. She hopes to get invited to future excavations and is glad she had this opportunity!

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