Dale Hanson

Dale Hanson, Assistant Curator of Mammals

Dale Hanson grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and loved reading about dinosaurs and other ancient life. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management from New Mexico State University and began working for the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as a Range Management Specialist in Miles City, Montana in 1977. Much of the famed Hell Creek formation occurs within the region managed by the Miles City BLM office, and Dale took it upon himself to encourage the active management of paleontological resources in that area and throughout the BLM. After transferring to Eugene, Oregon with the BLM, Dale began a degree program at the University of Oregon, while continuing to work full-time.

After receiving a Master’s degree in Geology with a Vertebrate Paleontology emphasis in 2000, Dale was selected to become one of just three Regional Paleontologists in the BLM, moving to Cheyenne, Wyoming. Dale was responsible for all paleontology-related matters for the BLM in Wyoming, plus was a BLM paleontology resource advisor to Idaho, Montana, North and South Dakota, and Nebraska. He was the lead author on BLM’s Potential Fossil Yield Classification policy and the Paleontology Mitigation Policy, both of which were new management directions for the BLM.

After retiring from the BLM in 2009, Dale moved to the Bozeman area and began volunteering at the Museum of the Rockies, being named as the Adjunct Curator of Fossil Mammals. Dale also worked part-time as a paleontology consultant for a large company and spent parts of four years surveying the proposed route of the Keystone Pipeline from the Canadian border to the Nebraska/Kansas border, among several other projects. Dale was appointed to the new Assistant Curator of Mammals part-time position in 2016. His paleontological interests include Oligocene aged mammals from Montana and Oregon and general paleoecological studies. Email Dale.

In the News:
     April 19, 2017

Skier finds rhino fossil in Bitterroot irrigation canal

HAMILTON, Mont. - A cross-country skier skiing through the Bitterroot Irrigation District Canal this winter discovered the fossilized remains of an ancient rhinoceros. That's right -- a rhinoceros in the Bitterroot. It's called a teleoceras, and it lived 5 million to 10 million years ago.


  • Hanson, D. A., Shoup, B., 2007, There’s A Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On – Paleontological Resource Management Implications for 3-D Geophysical Exploration: Case Study from the Wind River Basin, Fremont County, Wyoming, SVP Program and Abstracts Book, 2007:
  • Hanson, D. A., 2015, An Early Arikareean (middle Oligocene) Mammal Assemblage from West Central Montana. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, SVP Program and Abstracts Book, 2015: 138.
  • Hanson, D. A., Scannella, J., 2016, Skull variability within a population of the large oreodont Megoreodon grandis from a single locality in west central Montana – a preliminary assessment. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, SVP Program and Abstracts Book, 2016: 149A.


  • Presented a talk at the Symposium on the Paleontology in North Dakota: Fossils as a Resource in Research, Education, and Economics. Invited speaker at the North Dakota Academy of Science Annual Meeting, 1992.
  • The Fossils of the John Day Formation, Oregon. Invited speaker at the Tate Museum Annual Conference, Casper, WY, 2007.
  • Presented a public talk on The Fossil Mammals of Montana at the Museum of the Rockies in February 2014.
  • The Fossil Felids and Nimravids of North America, invited speaker at the Tate Museum Annual Conference, Casper, WY, 2014.