Seattle paleontologists discovered a rare Tyrannosaurus rex skull which was just brought in at the Burke Museum.
The fossil was found in the Hell Creek Formation from the northern region of Montana, a zone that is well known for its dinosaur sites.
The skeleton contains the skull, the lower jaw bones, teeth, ribs, and vertebrae. The head itself is 4 feet long and weighs 2,500 pounds.
The dinosaur remains had been excavated this summer, and the paleontologists needed one entire month and a team of 45 people to take out the fossils from the ground without harming them.
The first to be discovered was a large vertebra. At that moment, the researchers knew they were dealing with a carnivorous dinosaur.
Before even trying to take out the fossils, the team at the excavation site had to remove 20 tons of rock from the surrounding area, as they had to create a ledge and to even out the ground to the level of the fossils. Ten people worked for two weeks to remove the rocks, all equipped with jackhammers, shovels, and axes.
After the ledge was set in place, the team used hand tools to uncover the bones. Several feet away, the skull was found.
“The combination of the skull features, the size of the bones, and the honeycomb-like appearance of the bones tell us this is a T. Rex.This was a very exciting moment for us,” said Burke Museum Adjunct Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology and University of Washington associate biology professor Dr. Greg Wilson.
However, the scientists estimate that they managed to dig out only 20% of a skeleton, and they believe it may be a chance to discover even more parts of the dinosaur.
The dinosaur fossil is estimated to be 66.3 million years old, and when complete it will have a size similar to the one of a city bus.
The Tyrannosaurus rex brought to Burke Museum is the first major specimen in Washington, and its skull is one of the 15 almost complete skulls of a Tyrannosaurus rex ever discovered.
At the museum, the researchers had to use a flatbed truck and a forklift to move the head to the loading dock. The bones are covered in plastic for protection.
The fossils will be on display in the lobby of the Washington State Museum of Natural History and Culture, where the curators organized an exposition of Tyrannosaurus rex bones and paleontology field tools.
Visitors are expected from Saturday, August 20, until Sunday, October 2.
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