The rules have changed regarding fossils in Montana.
Nate Murphy the Director of the Judith River Dinosaur Institute explains how.
“Montana is the very first state to recognize fossils as a surface right, and not a mineral right. What that actually means, bottom line is that the fossils belong to the deeded landowner.”-Nate Murphy
Nate continues to explain how the rule was changed.
“It came out of a legal dispute over some fossils south of Jordan, Montana and the ranching family that found it, they owned the surface rights, but the family that they bought the ranch from owned the mineral rights. So the family that had the mineral rights thought they had the rights to the fossils too. But what happened was a group of scientists, concerned citizens, hobbyist, we all got together, and we thought about changing the law, because fossils are not a mineral by scientific definition, and we went in a just changed a line or two in the standing law and it passed both the house and the senate unanimously.” -Nate Murphy
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