Dr. Michael E. Kjelland

Dr. Michael Kjelland, President of Fossil Excavators, LLC, has a diverse experience portfolio having worked over the past several years in Academia, Industry, and Government in such roles as: Assistant Professor of Biology, Postdoc and Research Scientist at Sexing Technologies (Animal Science & Biotechnology), President and CEO of Conservation, Genetics & Biotech, LLC, and Scientist at the U.S. Army Engineer Research & Development Center.


Dr. Kjelland is both a Biologist and an Ecologist with over 15 years of research experience in Biology, Animal Science, Agriculture, Natural Resources Management, Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Ecology, Biotechnology, Genetics, and Reproductive Science, and Paleontology. Dr. Kjelland is active in the scientific community; teaches workshops; publishes in peer-reviewed scientific journals (more than 70 peer reviewed scientific journal publications), technical reports and government documents (n=9); several patents (with more pending approval); and numerous presentations at both national and international scientific conferences.


Harrison Duran, field team leader, is an undergraduate ecology and evolutionary biology student at the University of California Merced, having focused research on Pleistocene megafauna. He serves on the board of the San Joaquin Paleontology Foundation and as curator at the Fossil Discovery Center of Madera County in Chowchilla, California.


Through Fossil Excavators, Harrison has gained experience with paleontological excavation at several dig sites, including the excavation of a Triceratops skull. 



Harrison duran

Mike Kjelland, Vietnam Veteran, paleontological prospector, as well as our operations and logistics expert. When we have some kind of a technical challenge he can usually come up with a way to solve it. And make no mistake about it, fossil excavation in the Badlands can involve plenty of technical challenges.

Michael W. Kjelland


Neyl Eagon, cattle rancher, Schaeffer's oil rep., Iraq War Veteran, and heavy equipment operator at Fossil Excavators. When we need surgical precision when moving delicate and large fossils, Neyl and his dad Ron are the guys that help get the job done.

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Neyl Eagon