Dale Hanson grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and loved reading about dinosaurs and other ancient life. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management from New Mexico State University and began working for the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as a Range Management Specialist in Miles City, Montana in 1977. Much of the famed Hell Creek formation occurs within the region managed by the Miles City BLM office, and Dale took it upon himself to encourage the active management of paleontological resources in that area and throughout the BLM. After transferring to Eugene, Oregon with the BLM, Dale began a degree program at the University of Oregon, while continuing to work full-time.
After receiving a Master’s degree in Geology with a Vertebrate Paleontology emphasis in 2000, Dale was selected to become one of just three Regional Paleontologists in the BLM, moving to Cheyenne, Wyoming. Dale was responsible for all paleontology-related matters for the BLM in Wyoming, plus was a BLM paleontology resource advisor to Idaho, Montana, North and South Dakota, and Nebraska. He was the lead author on BLM’s Potential Fossil Yield Classification policy and the Paleontology Mitigation Policy, both of which were new management directions for the BLM.
After retiring from the BLM in 2009, Dale moved to the Bozeman area and began volunteering at the Museum of the Rockies, being named as the Adjunct Curator of Fossil Mammals. Dale also worked part-time as a paleontology consultant for a large company and spent parts of four years surveying the proposed route of the Keystone Pipeline from the Canadian border to the Nebraska/Kansas border, among several other projects. Dale was appointed to the new Assistant Curator of Mammals part-time position in 2016. His paleontological interests include Oligocene aged mammals from Montana and Oregon and general paleoecological studies.