A biology student made history recently when he discovered a 65-million-year-old partial Triceratops skull.
Harrison Duran, who is currently in his fifth year of studying at the University of California, made the incredible discovery in the badlands of North Dakota.
In a press release handed out by the school on Wednesday, Harrison said:
I can’t quite express my excitement in that moment when we uncovered the skull.
I’ve been obsessed with dinosaurs since I was a kid, so it was a pretty big deal.
North Dakota is considered to be a treasure trove when it comes to discovering fossils and is part of the Hell Creek Foundation. The fossils in this particular area date back to the late Cretaceous period, which was between 65 million and 60 million years ago, having originally been discovered by paleontologist Barnum Brown.
The rock formation in which these fossils are found, spans across four different states including Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.
Harrison headed out on a two-week dig accompanied by Michael Kjelland, who is an experienced excavator and professor at Mayville State University in North Dakota, already knowing the history of the area.
Harrison and Michael previously became friends when they bonded over a passion for dinosaurs at a conference.
Michael told CNN:
I have been going out to the badlands for years off and on, but to this particular site it was the first time.
Last year, he discovered Triceratops skull around the same area that is currently being excavated.
Their dig kicked off on June 1, as they began chiselling the rocks in a bid to make some incredible discoveries. It was on the fourth day Harrison struck gold.
It is wonderful that we found fossilized wood and tree leaves right around, and even under, the skull.
It gives us a more complete picture of the environment at the time.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the LADbible Group team in 2017.