Fulton Rotarians learn about Shady the Triceratops

Photo courtesy Mary Ann Beahon: David Schmidt, associate professor of environmental science and geology at Westminster College, speaks to Fulton Rotarians about the Triceratops named Shady. Two of Schmidt's students, Faith McRoberts and Vi Lowe, also spoke about their experiences with the excavation of Shady.

At Wednesday's Fulton Rotary Club meeting, Rotarians learned from a Westminster College professor and students about a dinosaur excavation in South Dakota.

David Schmidt, associate professor of environmental science and geology, and two students, Faith McRoberts and Vi Lowe, spoke about the continuing excavation process.

Since 2019, Schmidt and Westminster students have been excavating a Triceratops in South Dakota named Shady located at the Grand River National Grasslands.

Every summer they travel to continue working on the process.

Schmidt said in his 11 years at Westminster, this has been the most exciting experience to be a part of.

They have found several pieces of Shady while excavating, including ribs and the skull.

Other artifacts have also been discovered, such as pieces of amber and teeth.

Schmidt said several volunteers also help with the excavation process.

"It's a lot of fun, we have a lot of people involved," Schmidt said.

He said there is still more left to find in the upcoming 2024 field season.

"It really is kind of a gold mine we're sitting on with this," Schmidt said. "This is a very very special, unique site."

Shady is both one of the most complete Triceratops and one of the largest Triceratops, he said.

Schmidt showed several different bones that have been found since 2020.

The bones and artifacts recovered from the dig site are brought back to a lab at Westminster, where they are prepared to be put on display.

The items are also used for research by students.

Schmidt said they are looking to get more space to expand so more items can be on display.

McRoberts has been involved in the excavation for a few years. McRoberts said "it has absolutely changed my view on life in general."

McRoberts and her father have both been involved in the excavation.

Lowe has been working with Shady for a year.

"Working with Shady has really really helped me figure out what I want to do for a career," Lowe said. "I knew I wanted to go into paleontology, but through this experience I have been able to decide I really want to teach paleontology."