World’s First Complete T-Rex Skeleton Finally Revealed To Public 67 Million Years After It Was Buried
The Tyrannosaurus rex, which was found buried in sediment next to a Triceratops, is thought to have been in a fight with the dinosaur at the time of its death.
The first 100% complete T. rex to ever be found, it will soon be put on display at a museum in North Carolina.
Nicknamed the ‘Dueling Dinosaurs’, the pair were preserved together in what is believed to be a predator-prey encounter 67 million years ago.
Professionals said the dinosaurs’ body outlines, skin impressions and even injuries, such as the T-Rex’s teeth stuck in the Triceratops’ body are still visible.
The remains were first discovered in 2006, in Montana US by fossil hunters. So far, they have only been seen by a few dozen people.
It took years to extract the 14-ton skeletons and arrange their purchase by the non-profit Friends of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences for an undisclosed sum.
Most T. rex skeletons are held by museums and private institutions.
The non-profit has since donated the fossils to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences which is due to start building a dedicated exhibition next year.
The Dueling Dinosaurs, which have not yet been studied, have been described as ‘one of the most important paleontological discoveries of our time’.
Dr Lindsay Zanno, head of palaeontology at the museum, said:
This fossil will forever change our view of the world’s two favourite dinosaurs. The preservation is phenomenal, and we plan to use every technological innovation available to reveal new information on the biology of the T. rex and Triceratops.
The T. rex also has skin impressions – fossilised remains of skin surfaces – which are extremely rare.
The explanation behind how the dinosaur has been so well-preserved could be due to the fact that it was found entombed within sediment from the Montana hillside.
Each bone is still in its natural position, which means scientists will have access to biological data that is typically lost in the excavation and preparation processes.
The fossil hunters who originally discovered the dinosaurs reportedly came to a deal with the landowners.
But, a court battle over ownership of the skeletons, which are worth millions of dollars, quickly ensued.
Some 14 years later, in June this year, a US appeals court ruled that the fossils belong to the owners of the land’s surface rights.
The ‘Dueling Dinosaurs’ were first auctioned in 2013 at Bonhams in New York, but no bid met the reserve price of $6 million (£4.5 million).
During years of negotiations, the fossil was reportedly locked away in labs or warehouses — until now.
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