'Dino Hunters' Clayton Phipps Previews His Potentially Historic Find

Kate Hahn
Dino Hunters
Preview Courtesy of Discovery

In the rugged high plains of Montana, third-generation rancher and 20-year dino hunter Clayton Phipps and his team have unearthed what he believes to be the bones of a rare, approximately 65-million-year-old Nanotyrannus lancensis.

But the animal, which in life was a 1-ton carnivore more than 20 feet long, is a "disputed species": Paleontologists can't agree if the handful of existing specimens constitute a unique creature — or are instead juvenile Tyrannosaurus rexes.  

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In Dino Hunters' July 10 episode, Phipps transports his find to a lab for examination and identification, which he hopes will settle the debate once and for all.

"I think with the two specimens [of Nanos] that my team has discovered, no one will be able to refute that [they are a distinct species] once science is able to study it," says Phipps, one of the series' five diggers who count on winter's freeze and thaw cycle to erode the earth and bring new bones to the surface each spring. "It's not an easy life," he adds. "But the thrill of discovery keeps me going."

Dino Hunters

(Credit: Discovery)

If the Nano gets full-fledged species status, it could be one for the history books. There's also a potentially huge payday.

Private collectors drop millions for entire skeletons of desirable finds like T. rex and triceratops, two species featured tonight and brought to life with computer graphics so real you might look over your shoulder for an actual dino.

Dino Hunters, Fridays, 9/8c, Discovery