“Duel dinosaur” fossils – 67 million year old remains that may be most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex And triceratops On record, the animals who were presumably locked in battle when they died – are finally unraveling their secrets. The iconic fossils are heading to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (NCMNS), where a state-of-the-art interactive exhibition will be built around them, the museum announced today (November 17).
The fossils are mired in controversy. They are notable specimens, comprising 100% of the bones of both creatures, as well as body morphology, skin impressions, and possibly soft tissues and residues of stomach contents. But following their discovery by commercial collectors in eastern Montana in 2006, the dinosaurs failed to sell at auction and later became involved in a lawsuit that attempted to redefine Fossils In the form of minerals. And the scientific community was torn about fossils; Many were excited to learn about the dinosaurs, but some said they are scientifically useless and others dislike that they are being sold by profit-takers.
Now, after a tremendous fundraising project, the 30,000-lbs. (13,600 kg) Dueling dinosaurs holding fossilized chicks have arrived in North Carolina, where scientists plan to study them before the public’s eyes. And certainly the duel is “not scientifically useless,” said Lindsey Zano, head of paleontology at NCMNS and associate research professor at North Carolina State University, who led the project to bring the fossils to the museum.
related: In pictures: Montana’s duel fossils of dinosaurs
“What is remarkable about these specimens is that they still preserve all their context” Late Cretaceous period Ambience, Zanno told Live Science. “So we can really dive in and know that there is integrity in the scientific data coming from these samples.”
Discovery of duel dinosaurs
The duel dinosaurs were discovered by Clayton Phipps, his cousin Chad O’Connor, and his friend Mark Manman. Clayton, as seen on Discovery Channel’s show “Dino Hunters”, is a cowboy, but “I’m more likely to have dinosaurs on my horse than I ever do looking for cows,” he joked.
In June 2006, the trio went prospecting for dinosaurs and saw pelvic guts coming out of a hill. Phipps and Eatman were not very excited, but O’Connor was fascinated, so they agreed to follow. Phipps received permission from the zamindars to dig there and returned with a crew after about a month. When they realize that the site is much more organized than a pelvis; This placed an entire tri-horned Ceratopsian dinosaur and Tyrannosaurus side by side.
Phipps told Live Science, “Here we have this world-class ceratopian skeleton. It seems 100% complete to the people we have at that point. And now we have a meat-eating dinosaur.” “Is the cat walking? I had to sit down for a second.”
Were the paleo-animals fighting when the catastrophe struck, they were merged together? Were they randomly strangers with neighboring burials? Only a complete excavation of the skeletons can unravel this mystery, e.g. T rexHave teeth set in triceratops‘ Body.
Horned dinosaurs are likely a Tricritopus horridHowever, it still needs to be confirmed, Zanno said. The persecutor, however, has the ability to be one Nanotyrannus, A controversial species that may or may not exist. many studies Suggest Nanotyrannus Is a teenager T rex, Not a separate species. But “to believe that science is right now and this sample is actually of a teenager T rex“Then we are going to be the only museum in the world which has 100% complete specimen of the dictator king,” said Zanno.
related: Photos: Newfound Tyrannosaurs had teeth about 3 inches long
Jack horner, Paleontologists who served as technical advisors for the “Jurassic Park” films and who originally called the dueling dinosaurs “scientifically useless” Interview with Smithsonian MagazineHas since changed its mind to learn that Zanno had access to the Montana excavation site, which provides important context. “Now it’s worth something scientifically,” Horner told Live Science.
Unsuccessful auction, lawsuit lost
Once the fossils were off the ground, Phipps could not find an institution interested in paying for them. Therefore, when he was contacted by the Bonhams auction house, Phipps reluctantly agreed. He wanted to get into paleontology, but he also needed money to pay the landlords and the team’s labor, he said. 2013 The auction was a huge undertaking: Fossils were shipped to New York and rated between $ 7 million to $ 9 million. But the bid only reached $ 5.5 million, so the samples failed to sell.
Meanwhile, landowners Mary Anne and Liege Murray sue the two brothers who sold the land to them. The brothers, Jerry and Robert Severson, retained mineral rights over the land, and argued that the fossils were minerals and therefore belonged to them, According to Science magazine. After several trials and appeals, the brothers lost that case.
Welcome to the museum
Most museums do not have millions of dollars to spend on fossils. In this case, the non-profit organization Friends of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences raised private funds from three explorers, landowners and excavators to purchase a $ 6 million dual dynasource and then the non-profit organizations collected specimens for the museum Donated
The exhibition will be one of a kind; Museum visitors will be able to roam a new laboratory called Dinolab, where they can talk with researchers and observe fossils and tools up close. The live stream will show research, Zanno said. At a public lab next door, visitors can try their hand at paleontology equipment, techniques, and techniques, which are being performed just a few feet away.
A $ 1 million donation from the Bank of America Foundation is enabling “Cretaceous Creatures”, a project in which high-school students from around the country and eventually the world collected sediment from a dueling dinosaur site in the Halleck Creek Formation. , So researchers can learn more about microfossils there.
related: Photos: The oldest known horned dinosaur in North America
Zanno’s team plans samples CT scanned, So they can create digital 3D images of dinosaur remains. They will seek the preservation of any soft tissues or proteins and analyze fossils for evidence of diseases and wounds. Samples include Tricertop’s frill and the only possible skinprints preserved. T rexFeet of.
Regarding Frill, “It would be good to answer some questions about how the cover was,” Andrew Farke, curator and research director and Raymond M. of California. On web websites in the collection of the Alf Museum of Paleontology. , Who is not involved with the duel dinosaurs, told Live Science. “There is speculation that it was completely covered with keratin, so think triceratops Like a giant fingernail. Or maybe it was more of a kind of thing. I think [the dueling dinosaur is] To answer that question is going to be big. “
Construction for Dinolab is set to open in 2021. Once it is open, visitors will be able to visit the lab as scientists conserve the dinosaurs, which will take about five years, and study their remains.
Originally published on Live Science.