Friday, 27 Nov 2020

Unseen T-Rex fossil showing battle with Triceratops unveiled for the first time

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Scientists have uncovered the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex that was killed in a deadly duel with a triceratops.

No complete skeleton of the iconic beast has ever been found – until now.

Some 67 million years ago a T-Rex pounced on its prey – an armoured, rhino-like vegetarian dinosaur Triceratops, and the pair both fell to their deaths.

Their fossilised remains were buried in sediment in Montana, the US, where they remained hidden until 2006.

After their discovery the “Duelling Dinosaurs” were only seen by a few selected experts – until now.

Incredibly, the huge animals' body outlines, skin impressions, and injuries – including tyrannosaur teeth stuck in the triceratops body – can still be seen.

It took years to extract the 14-ton skeletons, and arrange their purchase and sale, so it is reported only a few dozen people have seen them so far.

But this week it was announced they had been bought by the Friends of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences for an undisclosed sum.

The group has donated them to North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, which is due to start building their exhibition in 2021.

And they have released incredible photos of the remains to mark the announcement.

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It has been described as "one of the most important paleontological discoveries of our time" – and is the only 100% complete T-rex ever found.

Dr Lindsay Zanno, head of palaeontology at the museum, said: "We have not yet studied this specimen; it is a scientific frontier.

"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.

"This fossil will forever change our view of the world's two favourite dinosaurs."

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Dr Eric Dorfman, director and CEO of the museum added: "The museum is thrilled to have the unique opportunity to house and research one of the most important paleontological discoveries of our time.

"Not only are we able to uncover unknown details of these animals' anatomy and behaviour, but our new dedicated facility and educational programs will allow us to engage with audiences locally, across North Carolina, and worldwide."

A rancher, his friend and his cousin found the fossils in 2006, and it is reported they came to a deal with the landowners.

The 'Duelling Dinosaurs' themselves went to auction in 2013 at Bonhams in New York, but no bid met the reserve price of $6m.

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During years of negotiations, the unique fossil remained locked away in labs or warehouses.

But thanks to donors, the nonprofit Friends of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences has now bought them on behalf of the museum.

The dinosaur bones have not been studied and remain entombed within sediment from the Montana hillside where they were discovered.

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.

Construction is due to begin on the exhibit in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 2021.

  • Animals

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