Why is one of the rarest finds among dinosaurs located in a North Carolina museum when it was found in Oklahoma? Why was this find revealed in a museum in the Black Hills rather than its state of discovery?
Until local amateurs Cephis Hall and Sid Love discovered the rare fossils, only fragments had been discovered in the late 1940's. Their find in the mid 1980's in the Antlers Formation of McCurtain County, Oklahoma was the largest such found and includes the only known complete skull and forelimb. A recent book by Russell Ferrell (Acrocanthosaurus: The Bones of Contention, 2011) explains that the work is the "true story of Cephis Hall and Sid Love, the " 'Arkansas Hillbilly' and 'Choctaw Indian' who outsmarted the Corporation and Saved the Dinosaur." However, that subtitle falls far short of expressing the complex tangle of greed, academic elitism, and political maneuvers filling this unique true story. The answer to those questions is convoluted and as dramatic as a soap opera. An engaging read.
Acrocanthosaurus - Standing about 16 ft high and 40 feet long, this predator was king of his time, with razor sharp teeth and claws. It may date to the transition between the Jurassic and the Cretaceous. Recent studies has helped clarify its place in the dinosaur family tree.
State Symbols - Although the Saurophaganax was named the Oklahoma state fossil in 2000, its designation and species are in question, according to some sources. It was roughly 40 feet long and about 16 feet tall. It roamed the plains in the Jurassic (about 150 million years ago).