By Kevin Haas
    Rock River Current
    Get our mobile app

    ROCKFORD — A Rockford paleontologist worked with YouTube megastar Mr. Beast to unearth a 5-foot long dinosaur femur that’s now on display at Burpee Museum of Natural History.

    Josh Mathews, Burpee’s director of paleontology, worked with Mr. Beast in mid-October to uncover the fossil at the Hanksville-Burpee Dinosaur Quarry, a bonebed in Utah that’s federally recognized by the Bureau of Land Management.

    More news: New restaurant with casual dining, rooftop views and electronic music vibe coming to downtown Rockford

    They worked together for a video in which Mr. Beast, whose real name is James Donaldson, works a variety of jobs ranging in pay from $1 to $10 million. The video has already amassed roughly 77.8 million views since it was posted four days ago.

    “It was great. They were a blast,” Mathews said in a phone interview. “Despite what they say in the video how they were terrible at it, they actually did really good.”

    The femur was identified as coming from a Diplodocus, a long-necked dinosaur that roamed the Earth 145 million years ago. It’s now on display at Burpee, 737 N. Main St., from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

    Mathews and the team from Mr. Beast were working at a site where Burpee Museum crews have uncovered more than 1,000 bones representing at least 20 dinosaurs from nine distinct species. Mathews and his team at Burpee have worked at the site since 2007.

    “This is easily the largest bone that I’ve ever worked on in my career,” Mathews said in the video.

    More news: Bop Bop Korean food truck to open restaurant at Indoor Rockford City Market

    Mathews said he got a message in August from a member of Mr. Beast’s team inquiring about a dig. Mathews was referred to Mr. Beast by Stephen Brusatte, a paleontologist with ties to Burpee who also worked as an advisor on the “Jurassic Park” films.

    Mathews headed out to the site before hand to prepare it for Mr. Beast and company to finish the unearthing of the fossil.

    “The site is big, and we bury it every year after we leave because we can’t get the bones out and we want to protect them,” he said. “I was out there for two weeks uncovering the site and digging up a couple of the main bones we were going after with the crew.”

    Some of Burpee’s biggest finds include Jane, a  juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex, and Homer, a teenage Triceratops. It doesn’t typically name individual bones, but it made an exception for this latest find. It’s called “Mr. Beast.”

    “It’s not a complete skeleton. We usually don’t just give names to particular bones, but he (asked), ‘Is there any chance we can call it Mr. Beast,'” Mathews said. “Fittingly, it’s the biggest bone we’ve ever pulled out of the quarry.”

    Josh Mathews, director of paleontology for Burpee Museum of Natural History, poses for a photo with Mr. Beast James Donaldson at Hanksville-Burpee Dinosaur Quarry in Utah. (Photo provided by Burpee Museum of Natural History)

    This article is by Kevin Haas. Email him at or follow him on X at @KevinMHaas or Instagram @thekevinhaas and Threads @thekevinhaas

    missing or outdated ad config for local savings

    missing or outdated ad config
    missing or outdated ad config for local stories

    Tags: , , , ,