BONER !!!
By Montana Grant

Posted: February 14, 2019

So, you are digging in your back yard and discover Dinosaur Bones… Who owns the bones? This is not an uncommon scenario in Montana.

Montana is loaded with Bones! Much of this state was once a marshy plain and grassland where Dinosaurs ruled. There were no Dinosaur Jumps yet but there was plenty of Dino-critters in Big Sky Country.

There is currently a legal challenge before our State and Federal Government that should define ownership. The problem is that mineral rights, fossil rights, farming, rights, and real estate ownership are not the same. One ownership does not cover all things.

A land owner can sell their Mineral Rights, lease property, and own their land in different ways. Minerals and fossils are not the same thing.

Recently, dinosaur skeletons were found in Eastern Montana. These bones were found on private property by the owner of the surface rights and partial mineral rights. When they tried to sell “their bones”, the sale was blocked. Legal ownership defined by law could not establish who has a right of ownership. Are mineralized Dinosaur bones owned by the surface estate or the owner of the mineral rights?

The sale price for the 2 skeletons was 6 million dollars! The dinosaurs in question are a 22-foot-long theropod and a 28-foot-long ceratopsian. There are also other dinosaur skeletons on the property.

A Federal Judge in Montana said the bones belong to the surface ownership. Even though there are minerals I the fossil bones, they are not part of the Mineral rights. A clear and defined law is needed to grant proper ownership.

They are Boning up on the facts!

Montana Grant

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