A rare dinosaur discovery in eastern Montana is rocking the world of paleontology. Crews last week started putting burlap and plaster on an Edmontosaurus on a ranch east of Jordan. That will secure the fossil so that it can be moved by October.
The discovery is providing insight into what the skin of these creatures may have looked like, 65 million years ago.
"The inland sea, they call it the Cretaceous sea," Alan Detrich said about the area. "Goes all the way up into Canada and covered Kansas, where I live."
Detrich lives and breathes dinosaurs, but his most recent discovery is even more unique.
Detrich estimates the Edmontosaurus measured 35 feet from nose to the tip of the tail.
The Garfield County Museum has a replica of an Edmontosaurus skull on display.
But what makes this discovery so unique is that this skin is fossilized.
Detrich believes the dinosaur may have been able to change the color of its skin, like a chameleon, from orange to something else, offering protection from predators.
"That ain't a bad thing, if you're 35-40 foot long and got T-rex looking for you," Deitrch said. "It was filet mignon. We have nicknamed this Peking duck. You know that's the quality food, Peking duck. We do that because kids like to call these Edmontosauruses, duckbill dinosaurs."
He also found eight teeth, which he believes are from Nanotyrannuses, possible predators.
That and the skin will provide the opportunities for studying dinosaurs.
Detrich has sold dinosaurs to museums in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
"We'd probably rolled it over horseback," said Bobby Kerr, a rancher who has worked the land. "Didn't know what was there because we're out here looking for cows."
The discovery was made near Kerr's property. He's been helping move dirt for the paleontologists.
"They sit there in 100-degree heat all day with a little pick, and scrape and scratch and get the dirt moved away," Kerr said.
It's a tedious and sometimes uncomfortable career, but one Detrich he wouldn't trade for anything.
"It's the beauty of the country and the people," Detrich said. "And the mystery of these creatures that lived here, millions of years ago."