One small exhibit at the Idaho Museum of Natural History has a big impact on what we know about the Gem State's prehistoric past. 

The museum is home to a special species dinosaur.

Idaho State University Geoscience Affiliate Researcher L.J. Krumenacker says, "It's called Oryctodromeus cubicularis, or I just call it Orycto because it's a lot easier to say."

It is Idaho's most common dinosaur and is special because it lived in family units in burrows. Krumenacker found a burrow in 2015 in the Soda Springs area. He recently published a scientific paper on the dinosaurs and their burrow-dwelling origins.

Krumenacker says, "We saw this tube of rock that was just barely poking out. We excavate it and turned out, oh heck, we got another Orycto burrow. The first from Idaho."

And the third in the world. That is an important discovery for understanding the state's prehistoric past.

Krumenacker says,"It's exciting. I think it bridges the gap to show people that we've got the world as it is now, but there's so much history to discover about Idaho's past. And this hints to me that there's a lot more left to discover."

Besides bridging the gap between today and nearly 100-million years ago, the burrow helps create a better picture of the creatures' lifestyle.

Krumenacker says, "You've got evidence of what the animal was doing when it was alive, so it makes it more real."

Something these dinosaurs were doing in their burrows makes them truly unique.

Krumenacker says, "They're trying to protect their kids. They're taking care of them and then unfortunately something knocks them off, but they were great parents which you don't usually hear people thinking about dinosaurs being any sort of parent."

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