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US Adventist University Celebrates 20,000th Dinosaur Bone Found

21st dig season provides Southwestern Adventist University a milestone achievement.

Southwestern Adventist University (SWAU), an Adventist-managed school in Keene, Texas, United States, recently celebrated a milestone at its annual dig for dinosaur bones in northeastern Wyoming, as the 20,000th officially documented bone of the Dinosaur Research Project was found and uncovered.

The annual dig, now in its 21st season, began on June 1 and will run until the end of the month. Art Chadwick, Southwestern research professor, with the support of other professors from Southwestern, Loma Linda University, and Southern Adventist University, has led the project since he started it in 1996.

The discoverer was none other than Drake Smith, an 11-year-old boy from Burleson, Texas, on the dig with his family. Smith’s father, Jared Wood, is a herpetologist and professor at Southwestern Adventist University. The bone Smith found was a chevron (tail bone), likely from anEdmontosaurus.

  • Art Chadwick helps a student record their GPS coordinates during Southwestern Adventist University's June 2017 dinosaur dig in Wyoming. [Photo: Southwestern Adventist University]

  • Drake Smith marks his find at the 21st Southwestern Adventist University summer dinosaur dig with GPS coordinates. [Photo: Southwestern Adventist University]


“I was just so excited to find a bone that was a cool find, and it was the first one I dug up myself,” said Smith. “Then, I heard it was the 20,000th bone, and I was super excited. I was really glad my dad was there, and I got to help him with the dinosaurs.”

“This young man found and uncovered the bone all by himself. It’s a wonderful thing to see the next generation enthusiastic about preserving this part of Earth’s history,” said Chadwick. “In all the years I’ve been out here, I still get a thrill from these discoveries.”
The moment illustrates the significance of this particular dig and the wishes of the property owners of the ranch where the bones are located. While other property owners have chosen to sell the bones found on their property, members of the Hanson family instead chose to establish the Hanson Research Station to protect the bones on their property and to preserve their use for science and education.

All ages and levels of interest and skill are welcome at the dig. During the annual month-long dig season, participants in the dig range from scientists to high school and college students taking the dinosaur class for credit, to families and church groups. Participants come from all around the world too. This year alone, visitors have come from many different states such as New York, Texas, Washington, Ohio, Maryland, Missouri, Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Tennessee, Georgia, Oregon, North Carolina, Montana, Massachusetts, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The countries represented include Hungary, Japan, China, Canada, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, and Argentina.

This season also holds special significance as Southwestern Adventist University is partnering with the Hope Channel to film a television series. A film crew from the Hope Channel is on site at the dig for the entire month. More information on the release of the series will be shared soon.

The chevron bone will have its own place of honor at Southwestern Adventist University’s Dinosaur Science Museum in Keene, Texas. The Museum is free and open to the public. For more information or to schedule a group tour, please like the Museum page on Facebook.

Click here to watch the video of the discovery of the 20,000thbone, or access the video at the Facebook page above.

An original version of this story was posted on NAD Newspoints.


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