The Dinosaur Cowboy
Montana cattleman Clayton Phipps is living off the land – by digging up T. rex skeletons.
With the average Montana ranch hand making about $25,000 a year, some
locals, like Phipps – a third-generation cowboy who runs 40 head of
Black Angus cattle on a small family ranch – have viewed the area's rich
bone deposits as a better way to make a living. (The region is an
unusually accessible dinosaur-bone field, owing to its exposed
Cretaceous rock, known as the Hell Creek Formation, and lack of vegetation. The first-known Tyrannosaurus rex was excavated here in 1902.) Last year, Phipps made international headlines
when his "dueling dinosaur" fossils – a tyrannosaurid and a horned
ceratopsian locked in battle, which he'd excavated near here – were
expected to fetch $7 million at Bonhams auction house in New York.