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A Rare Find

How One Fossil Hunter Fueled Paleontology at Mines for Decades

Seventeen miles from campus under a blanket of snow, a stretch of land holds an untold number of fossils and the dreams of a rancher whose passion falls far outside his profession. Sixty years ago during a visit to a small country grade school in Hermosa, a paleontologist from the School of Mines showed Kenny Brown and his classmates rare fossils from the Black Hills. The young Brown was hooked. “Did all these animals actually live? Did they live on my place? The first time I found one of those fossils on my land was thrilling,� says Brown, who at seventy-one years old continues to volunteer thirty-five hours a week in the School of Mines Paleontology Research Laboratory and who last year bequeathed his 1,330-acre ranch to the university to further the education of fossil hunters such as himself.

Hardrock Extra: A Rare Find