The finding of a nearly complete skeleton of a triceratops dinosaur near Drumheller, Alberta in Canada is a major discovery, say scientists from a paleontology museum. A few bones were first seen by an alert former museum employee on a hill near a road.
The bones had come to be exposed because of erosion and the person who spotted some poking out once worked at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, Canada's only museum that devotes itself entirely to paleontology, The museum is just 30 minutes east of the find and the bones of the 4,460-pound herbivore were in a rich area for fossils, but not for this dinosaur.
Triceratops a large dinosaur
A statement on the Royal Tyrell Museum's website notes the beast was big. "After 12 days of careful work, the team uncovered a large “log jam” of bones, including vertebrae, ribs, and other bones. The vertebrae are over 60 centimetres tall and the ribs nearly two metres long," the statement reads.
Dr. Francois Terrien is a paleontologist with the museum. “I concluded that we were probably dealing with a very large triceratops, a four legged dinosaur with horns, with two horns on top of its eyes. It's a typical dinosaur that everyone's heard of.”
It is not unusual to find fossilized triceratops remains in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan and in the American state of Montana, but only rarely are they found in Alberta and never before in the province has there been a discovery of so many bones from one creature.
The museum now has plenty to study. “It will allow us to compare the Alberta triceratops to those we find in Saskatchewan and those we find in Montana and see if there are some differences,” Dr. Terrien said. “Maybe that discovery will provide us some information as to why triceratops is much rarer in Alberta than in Saskatchewan and Montana.”
The bones will eventually be put on display.