In 2006, an extraordinary fossil of two dinosaurs engaged in battle was found on a ranch in Montana. This one-of-a-kind fossil, however, became the topic of a legal dispute between the surface owners and the mineral owners of the property where it was found.

Who owns the “dueling dinosaurs”? AJ Ferate of Spencer Fane LLP explores whether fossils count as minerals under the law.


As always, the Federalist Society takes no particular legal or public policy positions. All opinions expressed are those of the speaker.

Learn more about AJ Ferate:


Related Links & Differing Views:

Public Land & Resources Law Review: “Murray v. BEJ Minerals, LLC”

University of Colorado Law Review: “Property Rights in Water, Spectrum, and Minerals”

Smithsonian Magazine: “Will the Public Ever Get to See the ‘Dueling Dinosaurs’?”

Associated Press: “Fight over dinosaur fossils comes down to what’s a mineral”

The Guardian: “Perhaps the best dinosaur fossil ever discovered. So why has hardly anyone seen it?”