Family suspects bones are from dinosaurs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 2, 2010

NATCHEZ — First time visitors to the late Pete Frank’s house were sure to get a tour of the bathroom.

And it wasn’t a high tech toilet that had all visitors gasping.

Stored on the top shelf of the bathroom linen closet were some of the Frank family’s favorite possessions — suspected fossilized dinosaur bones.

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The Frank family began looking at the bones again after Pete Frank’s death in April.

Daughter-in-law Pam Frank said the bones were discovered by Pete Frank in the mid 1970s along St. Catherine Creek near Traveler’s Rest, where Pete Frank leased land for a cattle farm.

“From time-to-time a cow would get loose,” Pam Frank said. “That’s what happened that time, and he was out there looking for it by the creek and looked and saw these bones sticking out of the embankment. He just started digging until he got them out.”

Pete Frank brought the items back to his house and showed them to his wife and children.

“We were amazed,” wife Sandra said. “I think his son Buddy was the most interested, but we were all shocked.”

Shortly after the discovery the bones were sent to be studied at LSU. The report, Sandra Frank said, indicated the bones were those of a mastodon elephant and a member of the Tyrannosaurus Rex family.

“They did a bunch of tests on them and said that because of the way they were situated they probably died fighting,” Sandra Frank said.

The bones were returned to the Frank house, and since then have been kept in the top of the bathroom closet. The report from LSU was lost some years back, Pam Frank said.

The largest piece, a jaw bone, still has six teeth intact. The others, Pam Frank said, appear to leg bones and maybe pieces of the shoulder of one of the animals.

Sandra Frank said Pete Frank never had any thoughts of getting rid of the bones because he loved showing them off to family and friends.

“If you came to the house for the first time, you weren’t leaving until you saw the dinosaur bones,” she said. “Everyone has been amazed. You can tell by those teeth, it isn’t something you see around here every day.”

Pam Frank said the first time she met her husband Buddy’s family while the two were dating, she was also shown the bones.

“It was before an (Adams County Christian School) football game, and we had come to the house to get something,” she said. “That was the first time I met his family, and they were sure to show me the dinosaur bones.”

Buddy and Pam Frank’s son Slick carried on the tradition.

“He’s been dating this girl for a while, and he was sure to show her, too,” Pam Frank said.

The bones have rarely been moved from their closet home, but each time a grandchild requested to show them during school show-and-tell time, Pete Frank was always happy to oblige.

“Papa was the only person who could touch them,” Pam Frank said.