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Thornton ‘triceratops not a triceratops after all

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DENVER -

There was major excitement last August after construction crews in Thornton unearthed a rare triceratops fossil in a parking lot. At least, that’s what they thought it was. It turns out that the 66 million year old bones held an even bigger surprise.

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science made an announcement this morning, it’s not a triceratops!

Scientists at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science say the fossil belongs to a rare Torosaurus, a close cousin of the triceratops that has a longer, more delicate frill and two very large holes. 

“While the number of good Triceratops specimens collected from the American West likely exceeds 2,000 individuals, there are only about seven partial skulls of Torosaurus known,” Joe Sertich, curator of dinosaurs at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, said. “The Thornton beast is by far the most complete, and best preserved, ever found.”

Finding the dinosaur fossils was already a big deal – most of the fossils found in Colorado are closer to 10,000 years old, but this fossil is even more impressive, with an  estimated 95 percent of the skull and at least 20 percent of the skeleton identified, this specimen is the most complete Cretaceous period fossil discovered in Colorado.

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