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This Man Spent More Than 50 Years Hunting For Fossils In Utah

Travelers Today       By    Jestan Dale Mendame

Updated: Mar 20, 2017 07:02 AM EDT

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Lin Ottinger, Moab Utah Dinosaur Hunter, Dinosaur Hunter
The Moab Rock Shop
Lin Ottinger owns a rock shop in Moab, Utah. Even after more than 5 decades of explorig, Ottinger still thinks that he needs to see more.
(Photo: Rachel Claypool/Youtube)

Becoming a dinosaur hunter may have crossed a lot of people's minds when they were kids. However, for Lin Ottinger, it just didn't cross his mind but it really stuck to him. For more than 50 years, this man from Moab, Utah has spent most of his life collecting dinosaur remains, rare gems and other ancient fossils.

Ottinger found love in the science of paleontology and geology since he was five years old. According to Utah Stories, he started out by collecting rocks and selling them to his fellow enthusiasts in his hometown of Tennessee. 

But how did Ottinger became a full-time dinosaur hunter? Well, he wasn't always in Utah because he and his family had a home in Oregon. In fact, he was even offered a job in California of felling timber after two years of working as an army mechanic. However, he had about a month to wait before his new job starts so he thought about going to Boise, Idaho to visit a metal and gem show.

According to BBC, a man showed him a precious mineral called andersonite which had a striking green to yellow color combination. He was told that the gem can be found in uranium deposits in Kane Creek in Moab, Utah.

It was at that moment when the switch was flipped for Ottinger. He rounded up his family and started heading out to Utah. He ditched his job in California and worked as a driver in some of the mines in  Utah.

Ottinger didn't have any formal education on what he did. He was basically a self-taught scientist who acquired his knowledge through years of experience. What some people don't know is that he's even made bigger contributions in the field of paleontology and geology compared to other nearby institutions.

Some of his major discoveries were the utahraptor toe bone, an apatosaurus that was in really good condition and a euoplocephalus fossil. When he donated his discovery of a new dinosaur species to his friend, Dr James Jensen, that dinosaur was even named after him which was the iguanodon ottingeri.

Now, Lin works in his humble shop selling his collections. However, even after all those years, he still thinks that he hasn't seen it all.

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