Construction Crew Finds Triceratops Skeleton
Construction workers breaking ground on the future Public Safety Facility in Thornton, Colorado, discovered triceratops fossils onsite Friday (Aug.25).
The discovery revealed the skull of a triceratops, one of only three total that have been discovered in the Fort Range area. Joe Sertich, curator of dinosaurs for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, estimated that the fossil had been there for at least 66 million years.
Dino-mite Discovery in Denver
When the fossil was discovered, crews were using a skid-steer loader to move ground. At the time, one of the workers thought the strange-looking patch of dirt be a fossil.
Sertich told the Denver Post that the old bones aren’t usually recognized as they’re plowed up.
Construction workers in Thornton accidentally stumbled upon a rare dinosaur fossil. https://t.co/q7qociFAVq— The Denver Post (@denverpost) August 29, 2017
He also added that the museum was fortunate that the fossil was recognized as such.
“We got the call and were out here and able to salvage the site, and actually collect these fossils,” he added.
So far, a horn and a shoulder blade have been uncovered, along with the skull. The skull's identifying attributes wo big horns sitting above the eye sockets, with a smaller nose horn sitting forward.
According to the Denver Post, most fossils that have been discovered in Denver have been from the Ice Age, which occurred 10,000 to 12,000 years ago. Many of these have been camels, mammoths and similar creatures, according to Sertich.
Moving forward, scientists associated with the museum will work on stabilizing the site. This process is to help expose the fossil carefully, and to look for any other bones in the area.
Joe Sertich, our curator of dinosaurs, on the recent triceratops skull found in neighboring Thornton, CO. More to come tomorrow! pic.twitter.com/90gV2zV1cF— Denver Museum (@DenverMuseumNS) August 29, 2017
“I’m over the moon right now that this is a dinosaur fossil,” Sertich said.
“My heart was racing,” he added. “As soon as [we] uncovered it and realized this was a horn of a triceratops and not just another leg bone or part of a hip, it made the site really exciting.”
The city is providing onsite security, even though the discovery is not visible from the road. Todd Barnes, with the city of Thornton, told CBS Denver that the city was excited about the discovery.
“This is the kind of find that makes everybody stop and take notice and get serious about preservation efforts,” he said.
The excavation is slated to take some time, and there is no specific timeframe set yet on when construction will resume.