HR History in the Making - Dinosaur Fossils in Highlands Ranch!

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It’s A Triceratops! Dino Bones Found In Highlands Ranch Belong To ‘Pretty Big Triceratops’ – CBS Denver

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (CBS4) – Paleontologists with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science confirmed that the fossils discovered at a Highlands Ranch construction site are the bones of a large triceratops. The museum had an idea what the fossils might be but experts officially confirmed the find on Thursday.

“A few weeks ago, all of this was just underwater, so it was almost impossible to identify what anything was exactly. But cleaning things off in the lab, we feel confident that it is a triceratops and not only that, it’s a pretty big triceratops. It’s an adult size, the bones we’ve been working on are pretty massive for the type of animal it is,” said Natalie Toth, the chief fossil preparator for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Dinosaur bones unearthed at Highlands Ranch Construction Site

Toth and her team expected to be finished excavating by early June but she says every day, they encounter new pieces of the dinosaur.

“I think initially when we found a few bones scattered we thought, ‘Oh, we’ll wrap this up in just a couple weeks’ and here we are. End of June and we’re still finding more bones! Still taking more bones out of the ground!” Toth laughed.

WATCH: Dinosaur Fossils Found In Highlands Ranch Being Moved to Museum

Toth had a hunch back in May when she first stepped onto the sight to investigate.

“We said ‘Yep! This is worth it! We’re going to do this!’ and I would’ve never, ever, thought that it would’ve turned into something this incredible.”

While the trove of fossils is a good delay to encounter, Toth says they have had their fair share of bad delays.

Afternoon storms combined with a natural aquifer pouring into the dig site, made for a very messy endeavor.

“Back in mid-May, we were getting snowstorms, hail storms, sleet storms and then even now, it’s raining now, not only do we have water coming from the earth, we have water coming from the sky which has made things so challenging- but we’re working around it!”

Despite the fact that the entire dig site is supported by sump pumps, Toth can’t help but laugh; it’s all part of the experience and it’s one she’s extremely passionate about.

“The past is the key to the present, right?” Toth continued, “The more that we can learn about our history, about earth’s history, about how ecosystems have changed overtime, that can help inform everything that we know about the earth today.”

Toth initially thought Friday might be her team’s last full day of digging but was hesitant to say for sure. There are still more bones to be found. As of Thursday night, she was still hoping to discover a horn or identify one from the pieces back at the lab.

DENVER — Dinosaur fossils unearthed at a Highlands Ranch construction site in May belong to a large, adult triceratops.

A crew from the Denver Museum of Nature & Science loads plaster jackets protecting fossils from a horned dinosaur, discovered at a construction site in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. The fossils were donated by Erickson Living to the Museum’s paleontology collection. (Photo: © DMNS/Rick Wicker)

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science has been studying the fossils, and confirmed the identification Friday.  The fossils, which have been preserved for more than 66 million years, were  found near Wind Crest, a retirement community in Highlands Ranch during construction work in May.  Wind Crest, which is managed by Erickson Living, donated the bones to the museum.

The triceratops could have weighed up to 13,000 pounds and been 30 feet long, according to the museum.

West Crest Dig Bones Found

Natalie Toth, chief fossil preparator at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Natalie Toth, chief fossil preparator at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, examines a fossil from a newly uncovered horned dinosaur at a construction site in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.(Photo: © DMNS/Rick Wicker)

Dinosaur bones unearthed at Highlands Ranch construction site arrive at Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Dinosaur bones unearthed at Highlands Ranch construction site arrive at Denver Museum of Nature and Science on May 29, 2019.

Dr. Tyler Lyson and Salvador Bastien, of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Dr. Tyler Lyson and Salvador Bastien, of the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, uncover a newly discovered dinosaur fossil at a construction site in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. (Photo: © DMNS/Rick Wicker)

Dinosaur bones unearthed at Highlands Ranch Construction Site

Dinosaur bones unearthed at Highlands Ranch construction site arrive at Denver Museum of Nature and Science on May  29, 2019.

See full KDVR News Segement at https://kdvr.com/2019/05/20/dinosaur-fossils-unearthed-at-highlands-ranch-construction-site/

THE END OF THE TRAIL

by Norm Fox

The trail of the Triceratops ended July 11th with the discovery of a large vertebrae from our bony friend. Digging continued for a few more days until the guideline criteria used by the archeologist said they were finished and should close up shop.

The criteria is: “Dig one meter around the last unearthed fossil and if no other fossils are found within that meter it is unlikely any others will be discovered” Tyler  Lyson the Denver Museum of Nature and Science  curator of vertebrate paleontology said in a news release.

The rest of the story will unfold over the next several months as workers at the museum meticulously clean, glue and examine the more than 60 pieces (estimated) recovered from the site over the past w months. Tiny grinders, glue, brushes, dental picks, etc. will be used to piece together the 68 million year old animal and hopefully unearth a story.

Those with a continuing interest in the progress andfinal outcome can visit the Denver and observe the Fossil Preparers prepare the artifacts.

This has been an exciting two months in Douglas County and is now one more historical site to add to Highlands Ranch and Douglas County history.

Article On Historic Douglas Count Web Site -> Here

Article Date: 
Friday, June 21, 2019