The Missouri Dinosaur
Dan Stewart of the Missouri Geological Survey was researching clay deposits in the southern Ozarks in 1942 when he came upon 8-year-old Ole Chronister at his family’s creek near Glen Allen. Dan told Ole he was looking for clays that were as old as dinosaurs.
Ole showed Dan bones that his family had found when they were digging a well. Dan recognized them as dinosaur bones and talked the Chronister family into sending them to the Smithsonian. The scientist who examined them at the Smithsonian, Dr. Charles Gilmore, believed they were from a sauropod. In a paper published in 1945, Gilmore and Stewart named the dinosaur, Parrosaurus missouriensis. It would later be determined that this identification was not correct.
The bones remained with Dr. Gilmore for about a year before he died. The Smithsonian paid the Chronister family $50 for the bones. They used the money to purchase a cow.
More discoveries in this location had to wait for the 1970s when another student at Rolla was studying the Stewart and Gilmore’s research. That student, Bruce Stinchcomb, later bought the site from Ole Chronister. As excavation work continued, Stinchcomb found teeth from the dinosaur which provided evidence that it was a hadrosaur, a duck-billed dinosaur. This dinosaur,Hypsibema missouriense, was named the official Missouri dinosaur in 2004.
Discoveries are still being made. A tooth from a young tyrannosaurus, crocodile bones and remains of turtles have also been found at the site.