Watch the video below to find out how a 67-million-year-old fossil is put together.
Home to Australia’s leading museum-based palaeontology research program, the Melbourne Museum acquired the 67-million-year-old adult Triceratops horridus—the older of the two triceratops species—last year. (Featured image: Museums Victoria/Supplied Dr Erich Fitzgerald, Melbourne Museum)
The fossil, the world’s most complete triceratops skeleton, is 87% complete and has been described as the Rosetta Stone of palaeontology. The skeleton when put together will be approximately seven metres long and more than two metres tall. It will also weigh in at a colossal 1000-plus kilograms. If that’s hard to picture, just imagine a fully-grown African elephant and you’re on the right track.
The triceratops will be instantly recognisable to the public when unveiled this year at Melbourne Museum. From its familiar and fearsome-looking three horns and enormous 148 cm wide frill, the skeleton includes the tail, spine and skull of the dinosaur, which on its own is 99% complete. It is, in fact, the best-preserved triceratops ever found with skin impressions and tendons to boot.
Senior palaeontology curator Erich Fitzgerald has said that ”this will be one of a handful of Triceratops skeletons on display around the world in which all bones, from the skull to the tip of the tail, are from one individual animal.” The scientific value of the discovery is astronomical, so it should go without saying that the $3 million price tag is well worth it.
”This is among the most globally significant dinosaur discoveries ever made and the most complete dinosaur fossil ever acquired by an Australasian museum,” said Lynley Crosswell, CEO and director of Museums Victoria. In other words, a major coup for Victoria and Australia as a whole.
But, how do scientists know where each bone and bone fragment fit together?
The Triceratops will make its home here in Victoria at Melbourne Museum from 2021. For more info on this soon-to-be displayed icon, check out the Melbourne Museum website and discover all there is to know before you go.