Dinosaurs under the big sky

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Digging Up Dinosaurs by Jack Horner, 2007, 49 pages. The "Bluffer's Guide to Dinosaur Paleontology!" Jump-start your knowledge of dinosaur paleontology with this quick read which introduces you to the what, where, how, etc as well as to some of the key dinosaur discoveries in the Rocky Mountains and Badlands.
Dinosaurs Under the Big Sky by Jack Horner, 2001, 195 pages. Jack Horner wrote the book that he wished he could have read when he started fossil hunting. This book covers Montana's geologic history, the important dinosaur fossil discoveries in the state, techniques for collecting fossils, and descriptions of dinosaur species known to have lived in Montana. Although not specifically written as an exhibit companion book, this book does provide essential background for the Dinosaurs Under The Big Sky exhibit constructed in 2005-2007.
The following books by Jack Horner give first-hand accounts of some of his most important discoveries and research which are highlighted in the Siebel Dinosaur Complex exhibits. Note the dates of publication. Some findings have been superseded by later discoveries and research which is often a part of the scientific process.
Digging Dinosaurs by John R. Horner and James Gorman, 1988, 210 pages. Highlights the

Maiasaura and Egg Mountain discoveries near Choteau, Montana, including dinosaur eggs,

babies and nests.

The Complete T-rex by John R. Horner and Don Lessem, 1993, 238 pages. Focuses on the

discoveries of the Wankel T-rex in Montana and the T-rex named Sue in South Dakota and

how these discoveries changed understanding of T-rex's size, behavior and habitat.
Dinosaur Lives, Unearthing an Evolutionary Saga by John R. Horner and Edwin Dove,

1997, 244 pages. Examines the impact dinosaurs have on our lives and the research on how

dinosaurs evolved. Discusses major dinosaur controversies including warm-bloodedness,

connection to modern birds and extinction.

How to Build a Dinosaur, Extinction Doesn’t Have To Be Forever by Jack Horner and

James Gorman, 2009, 246 pages. Describes project to create a real dinosaur based on the

latest research in evolutionary developmental biology. Molecular biologists are studying

the genetic code for dinosaur characteristics found in modern birds, such as chickens,

rather than the Jurassic Park movie concept of using prehistoric DNA.
How Dinosaurs Took Flight by Christopher Sloan, 2005, 64 pages. Poses questions about relationships/behaviors/appearances of birds and dinosaurs and then describes the evidence, hypotheses and remaining unsolved mysteries concerning the connections between dinosaurs and modern birds. Terrific fossil photography, diagrams and illustrations of feathered dinosaurs.
The Horned Dinosaurs by Peter Dodson, 1996, 346 pages. Contains a comprehensive review of the anatomy, physiology and biology of the horned dinosaurs, the Ceratopsians. Chapter 2/Anatomy of a Horned Dinosaur, Chapter 3/ Three-Horned Face (Triceratops), and Chapter 9/The Life and Death of Horned Dinosaurs (pages 260-266) provide particularly useful background information for the Triceratops exhibits in The Hall of Horns and Teeth.
Evolution and The Fossil Record by John Pojeta, Jr and Dale A. Springer, 2001, 26 pages (Published by The American Geological Institute and The Paleontological Society). Presents a non-technical introduction to the subject of evolution. Life on earth has changed through time. The fossil record documents changes in past life on Earth. Fossils provide the dimension of time to the study of life. Also recommended reading for the Landforms/Lifeforms exhibit.
Evolution and Creationism: A Guide for Museum Docents by Warren D. Allman, 2005, 13 pages. Written for the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, New York, to provide their docents with a basic understanding of evolutionary biology and how to handle questions about evolution. FAQs about evolution and visitor Helpful Hints are particularly useful for MOR docents.
Lens to the Natural World, Reflections on Dinosaurs, Galaxies, and God by Kenneth Olson, 2011, 209 pages. Dinosaur hunter, Research Associate in Paleontology for MOR, and an ordained Lutheran pastor. Discovered the huge Triceratops skull in Hall of Horns and Teeth.

The following books were originally written for children but provide an unexpected amount of information, illustrations and photos of some of the museum’s most significant specimens and discoveries.

The Story of Big Al, Saving a Dinosaur for the Future by Patrick Leiggi and Brent

Breithaupt, 2009, 64 pages. Children’s book about Big Al, the Allosaurus specimen in the

Hall of Giants.
Maia: A Dinosaur Grows Up by John R. Horner and James Gorman, illustrated by Doug

Henderson, 1985, 56 pages. Children’s book about the Maiasaura discoveries near Choteau,

Montana, described in the Hallway of Growth and Behavior. Doug Henderson’s

illustrations are included in the exhibit cases.

Digging Up Tyrannosaurus Rex by John R. Horner and Don Lessem, 1992, 36 pages.

Children’s book about the Wankel T-rex discovered near Ft Peck Reservoir in Montana.


Written by Molly Ward, MOR Paleo Educator, Summer 2007

The halls that comprise the Dinosaurs under the Big Sky exhibit can be thought of as one exhibit that showcases dinosaurs found throughout the Mesozoic era in Montana. However, for the purpose of clarity, this document addresses the teaching materials for carts and tours in such a way that they are divided by the area of the exhibit (time period and type of dinosaur) with which they make the most sense educationally.

Each teaching object is listed in the following manor:
Photo and/or sketches

Name of item

Teaching Collection number



  • Suggestions for use

Introduction/Basic Paleontology Concepts

Mold/Cast Example

TC: n/a

Contents: Clear box containing one real Daspletosaurus tooth and one Daspletosaurus tooth cast, plaster mold, silicon mold and one Daspletosaurus tooth cast

Inside the clear plastic box are an original Daspletosaurus tooth (brown) and a cast (white resin) of the tooth. The mold consists of the white plaster “mother mold” and the green silicone mold. The brown tooth cast fits perfectly inside the mold. The cone shaped piece of plastic on top of the tooth is called a sprue. It is extra resin that was poured in through the hole in the top of the mold that hardened and needs to be cut off (the white cast shows what it looks like after the sprue has been cut off). The photos in the Mold/Cast Photo Series below can help you better understand (and help you show others) how molds and casts are made and used.

Mold/Cast Photo Series

TC: n/a

Contents: Maroon binder with 14 laminated photos

This photo series walks through the steps of making a mold from an original fossil, and then using that mold to make casts of the original fossil. Each photo has a caption explaining the step pictured.

Excavation Photo Series

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