Dinosaurs in Minnesota: Fossil claw found in Iron Range has scientists excited


Did dinosaurs once roam Minnesota?

Until recently, there was little evidence to suggest any lived here at all, but the latest in a string of stunning discoveries is adding weight to the idea that the "terrible lizards" did indeed live in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

The Star Tribune reports that the discovery of a one-and-three-quarter inch claw bone at the Hill Annex Mine on the Mesabi Iron Range is giving paleontologists a at the Science Museum of Minnesota "renewed hope" that more fossils will be discovered.

It is only the third piece of dinosaur remains ever documented in Minnesota, the newspaper says, and is thought to be 90 million-years-old. This would place it in the Cretaceous Period.

According to MPR, scientists have always believed dinosaurs roamed Minnesota (wherever it was hundreds of millions of years ago), but that much of the evidence of this has been swept away through erosion before they could be preserved, or were buried deep by glaciers.

"It's exciting for the people of Minnesota to think, we do have dinosaurs here," Macalester College paleontologist Kristi Curry Rogers told the news organisation. "We always thought we did, but now we have some hard evidence for those animals."

John Westgaard, a researcher at the Science Museum, told the Star Tribune that the claw belongs to a meat-eating dinosaur, possibly similar to the velociraptor.

He also said the "common line" for visitors to the museum has been that evidence of dinosaurs "just doesn't exist here" since the remains were thought to have been swept away – a line of thinking that is now being reviewed.

Hill Annex Mine State Park is a major site of interest for scientists looking for dinosaur remains and is now the subject of research organized by the state park and the Science Museum, according to the Hibbing Daily Tribune.

“This location could be as good as any in the state to yield an ancient beast of the Age of Dinosaurs, perhaps even the first confirmed Minnesota dinosaur fossil,” the authors of the Hill Annex Paleontology Project wrote, according to the newspaper. "There is enormous potential here for scientific discovery and revelation of Minnesota’s Cretaceous past."

Next Up

WIkimedia Commons - Frey April 20, 2021

Following poll, Mayor Frey seemingly changes mind on policing debate

He now appears to back the creation of a Department of Public Safety, and removing police staffing minimums from the city charter.

superior national forest

Highway 1 reopens as Greenwood Fire is 80% contained

The highway has been closed for about a month.

covid, vaccine

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, September 20

Data in Monday reports includes the past Friday, not the weekend. Weekend data is released on Tuesdays.


Driver killed in ATV rollover crash north of Alexandria

The crash occurred in Douglas County Sunday evening.

Wikimedia Commons - COVID vaccine, pfizer, shot - Martin G

Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine is effective in kids ages 5-11

The company plans to seek U.S. authorization for the age group soon.

storm, wall cloud, severe wather

Damaging winds, tornadoes again possible in Twin Cities Monday

Storms are expected to intensify during the early afternoon hours.


3 people stabbed in suspected domestic incident in Crystal

A man who was injured has been detained in the incident.


Magnetation to expand in Iron Range

The Duluth News Tribune reports the $297 million deal could bring anywhere from 200 to 400 new jobs to northern Minnesota.

Study: More Iron Range mesothelioma deaths found, bringing total to 82

The Duluth News Tribune reports state health officials found more than a dozen additional cases by checking death records in other states for former Iron Range residents who moved out of Minnesota.

Minnesota Zoo to feature lifelike dinosaurs

Fifteen larger-than-life animatronic dinosaurs including the popular Tyrannosaurus Rex, Giganotosaurus and Brachiosaurus will take up temporary residence on the Minnesota Zoo’s Northern Trail from May 26 to Sept. 3.

Dinosaurs begin arriving at the Minnesota Zoo

The zoo in Apple Valley is getting ready to step back in time with its summer exhibit that will feature 15 animatronic dinosaurs. The prehistoric display debuts Memorial Day weekend and will remain open through Labor Day.

Iron Range leaders angry as Magnetation scouts sites outside Minnesota

The company says Minnesota's strict pollution rules are forcing it to look beyond the state for a possible site for a new iron ore plant. State officials tell the Duluth News Tribune they're upset Magnetation executives would consider such a thing after the state gave them $1 million in taxpayer money.