RALEIGH, N.C. — A 67-million-year-old battle for the ages is heading to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
All those years ago, a Tyrannosaurus rex and a Triceratops horridus were buried together. These two specimen are the best-preserved skeletons of these two kinds of dinosaurs to date.
This is also the only 100% complete skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus ever discovered.
The dinosaur carcasses have not been studied and remain entombed within sediment from the Montana hillside where they were discovered. Because of these rare burial conditions, each bone is in its natural position and museum scientists will have access to biological data that is typically lost in the excavation and preparation processes.
In the sediment, it is possible to make out body outlines, skin impressions and other soft tissues, as well as injuries and potential evidence of interaction, such as Tyrannosaurus teeth embedded in the Triceratops body.
“Becoming the home of the Dueling Dinosaurs is further evidence that the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is one of the finest museums in the world,” said Susi Hamilton, secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “We look forward to inviting dinosaur lovers of all ages to experience this awe-inspiring fossil and learn from our talented team of paleontologists as they undertake a one-of-a-kind research project to uncover and analyze them.”
The display will include a renovation on the ground floor of the Nature Research Center and will include high-tech exhibit spaces, an area where visitors can explore the tools and techniques used by paleontologists, and an exemplary science laboratory dubbed the “SECU DinoLab,” where scientists will research the specimens live in front of the public. Construction will begin in 2021.
“We have not yet studied this specimen; it is a scientific frontier,” said Dr. Lindsay Zanno, head of paleontology at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and associate research professor at North Carolina State University.” The preservation is phenomenal, and we plan to use every technological innovation available to reveal new information on the biology of T. rex and Triceratops. This fossil will forever change our view of the world’s two favorite dinosaurs.”
“It is an immeasurable honor to welcome these specimens as they take up permanent residence here at the Museum,” said Jason Barron, chair of the Friends of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. “’Dueling Dinosaurs’ is a singular find; we are incredibly grateful to our supporters for making this a reality and allowing our visitors – in-person and virtual alike – to experience this journey with us.”
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