Really old Montana

Back before the Indians roamed the West, it seemed Montana was a haven for a some other prehistoric cultures, namely that of the dinosaurs and all the other life forms that preceded us billions of years ago.

Montana is fertile ground for those who crave dinosaur bones, and the Museum of the Rockies gives New York’s Natural History Museum a run for its money in the dinosaur collection. You can actually see experts at work cleaning bones.

They do indeed have lots of bones (all local dinosaurs, by the way), and some nice recreations. They fancifully propose colors on those recreations they knew to be feathered and differentiated in their coloration by gender.  Nobody can know if they guessed correctly, but it’s fun to see what might have been.

Montana paleontologists were the ones to discover a (Montana) T-Rex skeleton with soft tissue still present inside a bone. This is big! Really big! Wait for Jurassic Park to open in Montana soon…

The exhibit also included an original homesteader house and outbuildings – very nicely preserved.

We left Bozeman after seeing the museum and headed to Billings, the largest city in the state.  On the way, we drove through a few little towns.  Livingston was one, a community which has attracted a lot of movie stars such as Dennis Quaid, Jeff Bridges and Michael Keaton, and writers such as Jim Harrison. We didn’t see any celebs on the streets, and they don’t sell maps to their ranches, so you are out of luck in seeing them in their cowboy duds.

We did stop briefly in Big Timber, but the soda fountain – which came highly recommended – was being refurbished.  Sigh.  Nice setting for a town, though.

So we are now in Billings, having already toured the art museum (no photos allowed!) and we’re getting ready for a big adventure tomorrow.  Stay tuned…



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