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[North Dakota: Legendary. Follow the trail of legends]


Paleontology Banner

Introduction to the North Dakota Geological Survey
Fossil Resource Management Program



The North Dakota Geological Survey Fossil Resource Management Program was inaugurated in 1983 primarily in response to concern about the historic and ongoing removal of fossils from North Dakota. The program has three primary objectives: 1) To promote public understanding and awareness of the importance of North Dakota’s fossil resources through a variety of educational activities including fossil exhibits, tours, and presentations; 2) To identify and preserve North Dakota’s significant fossil sites and specimens; and 3) To conduct research to determine the kinds of organisms that inhabited North Dakota at various times in the geologic past and to determine the types of climates and environments in which those organisms lived.

Two laws were passed in 1989 that have greatly enhanced the North Dakota Geological Survey’s ability to manage the State’s paleontological resources.  The first of these laws, North Dakota’s Paleontological Resource Protection Act (Section 54-17.3, N.D.C.C.), gives the North Dakota Industrial Commission, acting through the office of the State Geologist, the responsibility to protect paleontological resources located on land owned by the State or its political subdivisions.  Also in 1989, the North Dakota Geological Survey was given statutory responsibility to operate and maintain a public repository for North Dakota fossils (Section 54-17.4, N.D.C.C.). The North Dakota State Fossil Collection is housed at the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck. (location map)

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Last modified: January 3, 2007