Denver Triceratops Turns Out to Be an "Extremely Rare" Torosaurus Fossil

Federico Mansilla
Diciembre 6, 2017

The fossil nicknamed "Tiny" was found August 29 while workers were constructing a public safety building in Thornton.

In its initial condition, it was hard to determine what sort of dinosaur the fossil had originated from.

It took a month of cleaning and study, but researchers at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science have arrived at the conclusion that the skull appeared to come from a Torosaurus.

The triceratops and torosaurus had a large horn over each eye and a smaller nose horn.

Officials believed during excavation that the fossils were those to the more common triceratops. But after unearthing more of the skull it was realized it was a Torosaurus due to its long, thin, and more delicate frill (the bony part around the back of the head) with two very large holes. In comparison, this type of fossil is much less common.

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"Not only is the fossil more complete and better preserved than I imagined, but it has also revealed itself to be something extremely rare", said Joe Sertich, curator of dinosaurs at the museum. "The Thornton beast is by far the most complete, and best preserved, ever found".

The fossil includes about 95% of the skull, and an astonishing 20% of the entire skeleton. Crews found a Cretaceous period dinosaur fossil and it's making history for our state.

If you'd like to see the uncovering in action, the Torosaurus bones are being released from their encasements of sand and stone in the public Fossil Prep Lab at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. This opportunity to watch top dinosaur researchers at work is the flawless opportunity for any dino enthusiast interested in seeing a new discovery happen in real time.

Finding the dinosaur fossils was already a big deal - most of the fossils found in Colorado are closer to 10,000 years old, according to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

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