Kenai graduate uncovers history in north Montana

Posted: Monday, March 04, 2002

Nate Murphy may not be making history, but he is touching it.

The 1976 Kenai Central High School graduate has spent more than 10 years as the curator of paleontology at the Phillips County Museum in Malta, Mont., and as the director of the Judith River Dinosaur Institute.

He has traveled the world excavating and studying the "dragons of the past," though the last few years have been spent digging in Montana.

In July 2000, a member of Murphy's team found the beginnings of a rare mummified duckbill dinosaur fossil in Montana. The team spent the 2001 season uncovering "Leonardo" to find that parts of its skin and soft tissue had been preserved.

According to the Judith River Dinosaur Institute Web site, scales and tissue parts have been found in less than .1 percent of all excavated dinosaurs.

The hadrosaur is also only the fourth of its kind ever found. In addition, it is the one found that was not full grown when it died.

The institute believes the find will help uncover information about the species' appearance, diet and other habits.

The find was featured in "Fossil in the Flesh" in the January 2002 issue of Popular Science magazine.

For more information on Murphy's work, visit www.isgs. /judithriver_index.html.

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