By Matt Kroschel
GRAND COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– The infatuation with creatures who died millions of years ago has pushed one Colorado man to not only create a business, but pass along his love to the next generation of dinosaur enthusiasts.
John Hankla and his wife moved to Grand County and brought with them 40 complete dinosaur skeleton casts.
Hankla rents out the fossils to museums and movie studios through his business, The Collective Collection.
When CBS4 reached him by phone to set up an interview he was pulling up to the Museum of Nature and Science in Denver to drop off a skull.
“We have it loaded up and are trying to find a parking spot,” Hankla said.
His family donated the largest private collection ever, totaling 600 bones, to the museum last year.
The dinosaur lover also makes sure kids find the same love he had growing up by providing the skeletons to schools for special displays and educational presentations, at no charge.
The casts of the ancient animals themselves are plastic mold recreations made from actual dinosaur fossils, many of which Hankla himself helped dig up in rural Wyoming over the years.
Hankla’s collection is about to be even more famous.
Several of the casts from Hankla’s collection will be featured in the film “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” hitting big screens later this month.
Hankla says film producers requested that the full-size skeletons be displayed at the movie premieres.
He is also working to bring school kids on location to take part in actual dinosaur digs.
“Once they find and hold a real fossil, it changes them, you can’t teach that in a classroom from a book,” he said.