Dick Wills

Dick Wills

How I Started

I started my fossil hunting by going to several “Pay to Dig” sites in the Western U.S. I wanted to see how interested I really was. I liked it! I found fish fossils in WY and Trilobites in UT. Later, with the aid of a series of rock and fossil hunting guides, I ventured out on my own.

I initially wanted to find a saber tooth cat, so I searched in various Plestiocene areas in several states.  I never found a cat, but when I migrated to Eocene areas, I found a compete tortoise shell, the jaw of an Oreodont, and half of the pelvis of a Titanothere.

To get experience with dinosaur fossils, I volunteered as a “Paleo Slave” with a professional group who were digging in the Morrison formation of the Jurassic era. I helped excavate a part of a large Camarasaurus. I worked hard for a week, and was paid back in years of knowledge. This group taught me the basic principles of how to dig and how to cast a fossil. You may want to consider becoming a volunteer somewhere yourself. It is well worth the effort.

I read all the technical literature I could absorb on Geology and Paleontology. This helped me recognize the ground and strata I would search and work in. I also studied dinosaur anatomy so that I can begin to identify the bone type or species of what I might uncover in the field.  I carry photos of species skeletons in the field to help me to confirm the identity the fossil bones I find. Below are the sites that I found helpful:

Pay to Dig sites

https://www.caspercollege.edu/tate-geological-museum/events/digs
http://www.fossilsafari.com/index.htm
http://www.u-digfossils.com/
http://www.wyodino.org/
http://promiselandfossils.com/BlueMoon.html
http://www.paleoadventures.com/dinosaur-dig-site-tours.html
http://www.prehistoricstore.com/item.php?item=852
http://www.hcfossils.com/dig-sign-up/

https://paleoprospectors.com/

How To A Find Dinosaur Sites

You can view a team searching in real time at http://lastdinos.livesci.org

Other Great sites

https://digfieldschool.org/
https://museumofwesternco.com/
http://www.bbpaleo.org/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIiuvnfa92wIVTlqGCh0gZATyEAAYASAAEgLRtvD_BwE
https://observationdeck.kinja.com/want-to-join-a-dinosaur-dig-this-summer-you-can-1584367030
http://www.dinoridge.org/adult-field-trips.html
https://www.myfossil.org/resources/field-opportunities/
https://www.oregonpaleolandscenter.com
https://museumoftherockies.org/uploads/Resources/Trunks__Kits/Background_Info-Process_of_Paleontology.pdf
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/ultimate-summer-camp-activity-digging-dinosaurs-180964862/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2016/07/15/want-to-go-hunting-for-dinosaur-bones-heres-what-to-expect/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.fd5660c8503f
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/digital-nomad/2013/07/29/how-to-find-dinosaur-bones/?user.testname=photogallery:1
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/apr/24/how-do-you-discover-a-dinosaur
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2018/06/16/fossil-hunting-101-lessons-from-a-self-taught-dinosaur-tracker/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.a406fc5cc4a9

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