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ROBERT T. BAKKER, Ph.D.


Robert T. Bakker, Ph.D. continues to lecture, even while stopping for lunch, at Nail Quarry, Como Bluff, Wyoming in August, 1994 Sketch drawn in 1994 by
Dr. Robert T. Bakker, Ph.D.

for PMNS Curator
Terrell W. "Terry" Proctor, J.D.
Robert T. Bakker, Ph.D.
showing PMNS Curator
Terrell W. "Terry" Proctor, J.D.
how how to dig and secure dinosaur bones.

Written by PMNS Curator, Terrell William "Terry" Proctor, J.D.

       Perhaps no Paleontologist living today has developed what, at least originally, were as controversial of scientific concepts (at least on dinosaurs), as Robert T. Bakker, Ph.D.

       Dr. "Bob" (as he is often called) is best known for his innovative theories that dinosaurs were hot-blooded and terrestrial instead of the cold-blooded, inherently dumb, reptilian type of creatures moving slowly through swamps and tidal areas, as previously pictured by scientists. He has two books out, one called "Dinosaur Heresies" and the other entitled "Raptor Red". I first met Dr. Bob when he came to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, where I have been a member for many years. He spoke on Dinosaurs at the invitation of my friend, Irene Offeman, who at that time was Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at the HMNS. I talked with Dr. Bob after his presentation and had him autograph my copy of the "Dinosaur Heresies" which I purchased that night.

       Dr. Bob is imminently intelligent, in many areas other than Paleontology; easy to talk with; really down to Earth; loves kids;and realizes that the crumb snatchers often know the names of more species of dinosaurs than the elders would ever hope to. In short he is a delightful man to know.

       As a demonstration of his sound judgment and intelligence, Bob Bakker realizes and states that most of the important fossil finds in history were made by amateurs. Therefore, to try to prevent amateurs and Rockhounds from digging, he contends that we should both encourage and guide amateurs and Rockhounds in how to find and how to protect important fossil finds.

       In August, 1994, I had the extreme pleasure of meeting and spending about a week with Bob Bakker, digging for dinosaurs at the Nail Quarry, Como Bluff, Wyoming. This location is just out of Medicine Bow, Wyoming, where we stayed for the week at the picturesque "Virginian" Hotel.

       Dr. Bob lectured us in the mornings, which started VERY EARLY at the "Virginian" in Medicine Bow, Wyoming. The interesting thing (which nearly drove us all crazy) about Medicine Bow is that I learned it is one of two switching (or something) centers for railroads in the U.S. Medicine Bow, Wyoming is a relatively small town. However, a train comes through on one of the many tracks there, about five minutes, day and night. Trying to sleep is difficult at best. I understand that some of the footage of the T. V. series of "The Virginian" was shot at the "Virginian" in Medicine Bow. It is a colorful hotel with red velvet on the walls. The red velvet appears not to have been dusted for years, and there is a good bit of dust in Medicine Bow (so many they really clean it once a year, but the velvet is well coated with dust). Great for allergies, which fortunately I have little trouble with.

       After the morning lecture on dinosaurs which went on for about an hour, we left to go to the dig site at Como Bluff. Como Bluff is one of the earliest dig sites for dinosaurs by I believe both Marsh and Cope (if you don't know who they are, click and their biographies are also on this web site). Dr. Bob was great about showing us how to carefully dig so as not to damage even the smallest bones or pieces of the dinosaurs, in order to protect the integrity of the find. He carefully logged in the location of each dinosaur fossil piece and/or other fossils found. Dr. Bob drew a picture of each piece "in situ" so when the bones got to the lab at the Tate Museum, for preparation and assembly, the notes would assist in both that feat and also in studying the manner in which the bones, teeth etc. were lying at the site.

       Bob Bakker, unlike some Paleontologists who insist on being called Dr. when they actually have an honorary decree, did actually earn his PhD degree. He received his bachelor of science degree from Yale University in 1968 and graduated from Harvard University with a Ph.D. degree in 1976. To the best of my knowledge, Bob Bakker currently serves as the curator of the Tate Museum in Casper, Wyoming.

       I spent a couple of weeks, on several summers in the 1950s in Casper, Wyoming at Summer Camp with the 125th Fighter Bomber Squadron at Natrona County (Casper) Air Base. Our Squadron flew prop planes when I first went in and later flew F-51 Fighter-Bombers and T-33 Trainers (I was lucky enough as a Squadron photographer to get to fly a T-33 for a short time, because the pilot was a nice guy and let me handle the controls. But enough about this. I also learned to walk with my head down to the ground as I kept finding nice pieces of agate and other semi-precious stones in the gravel around the Air Base.

       I visited the Tate Museum in 1994 and it is a very nice smaller museum. I also visited the Natural History Museum at Cheyenne, Wyoming, where Dr. Bob's Brontosaurus was on display along with a Terradactyl, a Mosasaur and other large fossils. Dr. Bob narrated there about the placement of the bones and other interesting information about this large dinosaur.

       While digging with Dr. Bob, he kept up a constant conversation with those who were there digging along with my office manager (and lady friend), Bonnie Marcantel, my sister Linda Jane (Proctor) Anderson, and me. The crew was about 15 or 20 folks and in addition to Dr. Bob, there were about three others connected with Dig Dino, the organization which we had contacted to go on the dig. The fee was about $950 and I paid for myself, for Bonnie and half on my sister's fee, as I knew she really wanted to go, but couldn't afford the entire fee herself.

       While digging, Dr. Bob was meticulous about doing so gradually and carefully to preserve every bit of bone possible. I found myself, even though I thought I was being careful, occasional having to say "Whoopsi". I found a Camelsaurus tooth right in the area of a rib bone I was carefully digging out. I'm sure when I first hit it, not expecting anything like that to be there, that I didn't treat it as gently as I should have. It was all right, but not as gently removed as it should have been. I went every more gently with a dental pick and paint brush after that.



Here are some additional pictures at Como Bluff, Wyoming
in August, 1994 with Robert T. Bakker, Ph.D.


Robert T. Bakker, Ph.D. showing Bonnie Marcantel (a super bone digger) the finer touches of digging dinosaur bones, in 1994 at the Nail Quarry in Wyoming. There are many Belemites (prehistoric fossil squid internal structure) in this area close to the Nail Quarry, Wyoming where the dinosaur bones were found Robert T. Bakker, Ph.D. at Nail Quarry removing matrix in which dinosaur bones are buried in August, 1994