Elk NetworkLooking back: Hunter Seeks Elk, Finds New Dinosaur Species

General | December 28, 2017

They have officially filed a name for the dinosaur found in 2010 by a Montana Elk Hunter. Nakonanectes bradti was announced this week by a paper written about the discovery.

An elk hunter seeking to fill his freezer instead stumbled across the fossilized remains of a creature that lived on the earth some 70 million years earlier.

David Bradt, with bow in hand, sought elk while hunting in the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge in northeast Montana in 2010. He made his way to a creek bed to splash some water in his face when he saw what he first thought was a piece of petrified wood. After a closer look, he had a different thought.

“It’s about the size of a cow, and I’m thinking it’s a triceratops,” Bradt said.

It turns out it is a new genus of elasamosaurid. It also bears his name. The Nakonanectes bradti is a short-necked, fish-eating creature from the Western Interior Seaway.

“Finally, the wife and kids are happy with what I brought home,” Bradt told the Billings Gazette of the photos he returned with in 2010. “She won’t even look out the window if I get a bull elk. But she’s all over this now.”

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(Photos courtesy: Erin Clark/Associated Press, David Brati & illustration by James Havens)