ATOKA COUNTY, Okla. (KTEN) — Dinosaurs and man — two species separated by millions of years of evolution — have suddenly been thrown back into the mix together.

An Atoka County family had no clue they were living by their very own Jurassic Park until they stumbled upon an ancient slice of history. They discovered "rocks" that turned out to be dinosaur remains.

"I was just poking around in the mud," Holly Keeler recalled. "And I seen some more pieces of fragments of bone, and I got to looking even more, and I started finding vertebrae pieces and other pieces of bone that I weren't really sure what they were yet."

The Keeler family's love for dinosaurs started as child paleontologists.

"I mean, growing up as a kid, I watched Land Before Time... that was like my first introduction to dinosaurs, and I've just always been fascinated by these huge animals walking around," Keeler said.

But what type of dinosaurs were hanging out in what would eventually become Atoka, Oklahoma?

A theropod model at the Anhui Geological Museum in China.

 

The Keelers did some digging of their own to find the back story of these fossils with the help of an expert from the Sam Noble Museum in Norman.

"He was looking around the site, and we showed him the bones we got, and he told us that it looked like for sure like it was a theropod down here, and an ornithopod, and there could possibly be more," Keeler said.

The family hopes to pass down their love for dinosaur fossils to future generations.