Newly uncovered North Dakota fossils could stir T. rex vs. Nanotyrannus debate - INFORUM
Oct 23, 2021 1 min, 20 secs

When it comes to that, Kjelland wears several hats: He is an assistant professor at Mayville State University as well as a cofounder of a nonprofit company called Fossil Excavators that focuses on the discovery and preservation of fossils, as well as on the environment and issues related to conservation.

Kjelland said the discovery and preservation part of his work came into play with the site near Bowman that produced the Triceratops skull — now known as "Skull X" — and this past summer yielded a number of additional fossils he said fall into the category of rare and significant.

Kjelland said the discovery this past summer of a possible Nanotyrannus jawbone could bolster the case made by those who say the creature was a species separate from its much larger relatives.

Since removing fossils from the western North Dakota dig last summer, Kjelland has shared them with fellow dinosaur experts to get their opinions on what was found.

One of those experts was Peter Larson, president of the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research in Hill City, South Dakota, a private corporation specializing in the excavation and preparation of fossils, as well as the sale of both original fossil material and museum-quality replicas.

When it comes to Nanotyrannus, Larson said, in addition to the upper jaw that was discovered last summer the fossil hunters also unearthed a tiny toe claw that could be from a Nanotyrannus or a juvenile T.

"They are digging in an old collection that was collected by an old stream channel," Larson said, referring to Kjelland and his fellow fossil hunters.

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