Imagine finding a few pieces of bone that lead to the identification of a new species. That’s what happened to one amateur North Texas fossil hunter whose discovery goes on display with Saturday’s opening of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas.
Kris Howe, of Carrollton, has been hunting fossils since he was 5. It’s something he did with his father, who taught him how to read the landscape and identify locations where the remains might have collected millions of years ago.
He’s especially partial to an old river bed near Lake Grapevine where he stumbled across the fossils that would earn him recognition in the world of paleontology.
“If you look down the edge of this exposure you can see a difference in the color," Howe says as he retraces his path. “That area in between is an ancient riverbed. If you had something that would be deposited it would be in the riverbed typically."
Howe remembers walking the ridge five years ago when he saw something unusual poking up through the loose, crumbling shale.
“There was one little bone and a couple of feet from there was another little bone and that’s all really you could see,” he says. “I didn’t know what they were."
So Howe took the bones to paleontologist Tony Fiorillo, who's now the curator of fossils at the Perot Museum.