It may have been a battle for centuries in ancient Montana.
About 67 million years ago, two iconic dinosaurs, Triceratops horridus and Tyrannosaurus rex, died and were quickly buried next to each other in a tomb. They both wear battle scars. This is the way scientists have been speculating for years, but it has only appeared in the Jurassic Park games ̵
The impressively finished skeletons of these “dueling dinosaurs” will be on display and examined at the Museum of Natural Sciences in North Carolina in 2022, the museum said on Tuesday. The museum is located in the center of Raleigh.
The Triceratops fossil was first discovered in 2006 when it was eroded by sedimentary rocks from the Hell Creek Formation. This rock formation, dating back 65.5 million years, is named after Hell Creek near Jordan, Montana. The end of the Cretaceous fossil treasure spans parts of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.
The remains of Tyrannosaurus Rex were also found slightly overlapping with triceratops. Both are extracted from the rock formation, wrapped in plaster and safely stored until they can be studied.
They are one of the most complete dinosaur skeletons ever discovered. Moreover, the researchers believe that the skeleton of Tyrannosaurus Rex is the only 100% complete fossil T. rex.
Both skeletons are also articulated, which means that all the bones are preserved in their correct order. One articulated fossil is rare, and this finding includes two.
An ancient cold case
While the fossils are still enclosed in sedimentary stone, what is seen tells an intriguing story.
So far, an analysis of Triceratops fossils has revealed actual skin prints on his signature and hips. The teeth of the tyrannosaurus are embedded in its spine. But Triceratops’ hands are not visible. Researchers are not sure if they were simply locked in the stone under his body or were taken out by other dinosaurs before Triceratops was buried.
They also want to know if the contents of his stomach are preserved. If so, they could learn about his last meal.
Tyrannosaurus Rex had broken most of his teeth; he also wears a broken finger and his skull is cracked. Researchers want to find out if all of this damage was suffered during a possible battle with Triceratops or if it was a fatal injury.
The fossil Tyrannoraurus rex also bears skin imprints on its foot, which researchers say is very similar to that of the modern emu.
The museum is building a new laboratory, SECU DinoLab, to house the fossils when they are on display in 2022. It will also be a center for fossil scientists. The exhibition is expected to be on public display for five years.
Some of the other questions that researchers want to answer about fossils include determining whether the molecules are preserved in skin prints and whether the tyrannosaurus fossil shows evidence of feathers. Scientists would also like to find out if this is a teenager Tyrannosaurus Rex and reveal more details about the curves of Triceratops.
And, of course, they want to know how the dinosaurs died and whether they were actually locked in a duel before that.
As the fossils are still buried in sediment, the contours of their bodies and impressions of the skin and soft tissues remain. These details are often lost when the fossils are completely excavated in the field.
“We haven’t explored this pattern yet; it’s a scientific frontier. The conservation is phenomenal and we plan to use every available technological innovation to uncover new information about the biology of T. rex and Triceratops. This fossil will forever change the way we look at our two favorites. dinosaurs in the world, “said Lindsay Zano, head of paleontology at the Museum of Natural Sciences in North Carolina and associate professor of research at North Carolina State University.
“The way we designed the whole experience – by inviting the public to follow scientific discoveries in real time and participate in research – will set a new standard for museums.”
Donation of dinosaurs
The popular dinosaur pair was donated to the museum by the Friends of North Carolina Museum of Natural History on Tuesday. The non-profit organization acquired the fossils with the help of private funds provided by the support of a wealth of foundations.
“It’s an immeasurable honor to welcome these specimens when they live permanently here at the museum,” said Jason Barron, president of the Friendly Museum of Natural Sciences in North Carolina. “The duel of the dinosaurs is an extraordinary find; we are extremely grateful to our supporters for making this a reality and allowing our visitors – personally and virtually – to experience this journey with us. ”
The exposition will further develop the educational and research programs of the Museum of Paleontology.
“The museum is excited to have the unique opportunity to house and explore one of the most important paleontological discoveries of our time,” said Eric Dorfman, director and CEO of the Museum of Natural Sciences in North Carolina, in a statement. “Not only are we able to reveal unknown details about the anatomy and behavior of these animals, but our new special purpose and educational programs will allow us to engage with audiences locally, in North Carolina and around the world.”
SECU DinoLab will provide visitors with the opportunity to observe researchers as they study fossils, as well as talk to the paleontology team.
And for those at home, the lab will share research updates and live videos to learn more about its findings in real time.