Paleontologists discover major T. rex fossil (Update)

August 18, 2016 by Andrea Godinez, University of Washington
Paleontologists prepare to remove a Tyrannosaurus rex skull from a fossil dig site in northern Montana and transport it to the Burke Museum at the University of Washington. Credit: Dave DeMar/Burke Museum/University of Washington

Paleontologists with the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture and the University of Washington have discovered a Tyrannosaurus rex, including a very complete skull. The find, which paleontologists estimate to be about 20 percent of the animal, includes vertebrae, ribs, hips and lower jaw bones.

The team, led by Burke Museum Adjunct Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology and UW biology professor Gregory P. Wilson, discovered the T. rex during an expedition to the Hell Creek Formation in northern Montana—an area that is world-famous for its fossil dinosaur sites. Two Burke Museum paleontology volunteers, Jason Love and Luke Tufts, initially discovered pieces of fossilized bone protruding from a rocky hillside. The bones' large size and honeycomb-like structure indicated they belonged to a carnivorous dinosaur. Upon further excavation, the team discovered the T. rex skull along with ribs, vertebrae, and parts of the jaw and pelvis.

T. rex was one of the largest meat-eating dinosaurs to ever roam the Earth. Measuring an average of 40-feet long and 15 to 20-feet tall, T. rex was a fierce predator with serrated teeth and large jaws. Fossil evidence shows it ate other dinosaurs like Edmontosaurus and Triceratops, with crushed bones from the animals even showing up in the its fossilized poop. T. rex lived about 66-68 million years ago in forested river valleys in western North America during the late Cretaceous Period.

The T. rex found by the Burke/UW team is nicknamed the "Tufts-Love Rex" in honor of the two volunteers who discovered it. The skull is about 4 feet long weighs about 2,500 pounds in its protective plaster jacket. Excavation in the field revealed the right side of the skull from base to snout, including teeth. Burke paleontologists believe it is very probable the other side of the skull is present, but will need to carefully remove the rock surrounding the fossil before they can determine its completeness.

"We think the Tufts-Love Rex is going to be an iconic specimen for the Burke Museum and the state of Washington and will be a must-see for dinosaur researchers as well," said Wilson.

Based on the size of its skull, Burke paleontologists estimate this dinosaur is about 85 percent the size of the largest T. rex found to date. At the hips, the T. rex would have been nearly as tall as a city bus, and as long as a bus from tail to head.

A T. rex tooth discovered by UW Burke Museum paleontologists in Montana. Credit: Tom Wolken/Burke Museum/University of Washington

The Tufts-Love Rex is 66.3 million years old. T. rex lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, 145-66 million years ago, and became extinct during the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction 66 million years ago. Burke paleontologists could determine that the Tufts-Love Rex lived at the very end of the Cretaceous because it was found at the bottom of a hill; a rock layer at the top of that hill marks the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction. Based on the size of the skull—a good indicator of T. rex age—the team estimates the dinosaur was about 15 years old when it died. Adult T. rex lived up to 25-30 years.

Although arguably the most iconic and well-known dinosaur, T. rex fossils are rare. This remarkable find is one of only about 25 of this level of completeness. The skull is the 15th reasonably complete T. rex skull known to exist in the world. Next summer, Burke paleontologists will search for additional parts of the dinosaur at the site.

More than 45 people helped excavate the T. rex over the course of a month this summer. The team was collecting fossils in the area for the Hell Creek Project, a multi-disciplinary project examining vertebrates, invertebrates, plants and geology of the area to learn more about the final 2 million years of the dinosaur era, the mass-extinction event that killed off the dinosaurs, and the first 1.5 million years post-extinction that gave rise to the age of mammals. The project, currently led by Wilson, was founded by Jack Horner and Nathan Myhrvold. Burke paleontologists, volunteers, undergraduate and graduate students from the UW and other universities and K-12 educators participating in the Burke's DIG Field School contribute to the project.

"This is really great news. The Hell Creek Project is responsible for finding the most T. rex specimens in the world, with 11 to date," said Myhrvold, Intellectual Ventures CEO and Paleontologist. "The T. rex has always been my favorite dinosaur and I'm really pleased that this one is going to make its home at the Burke Museum."

"Having seen the 'Tufts-Love Rex' during its excavation I can attest to the fact that it is definitely one of the most significant specimens yet found, and because of its size, is sure to yield important information about the growth and possible eating habits of these magnificent animals," said Horner, former curator of paleontology at the Museum of the Rockies and current Burke Museum research associate.

The T. rex skull and other bones are currently covered in a plaster jacket—similar to a cast used to cover a broken bone—in order to protect the skull during transport. The public can see the plaster-covered T. rex skull, along with other T. rex fossils and paleontology field tools, in a lobby display at the Burke Museum from August 20 to October 2. Special T. rex-themed activities will take place over Labor Day Weekend and on Sunday, September 25.

After removing the fossil from display, the Burke's paleontology team will begin preparing the fossil by removing the rock surrounding the bone, which may take a year or more. The museum plans to display the T. rex skull in the New Burke Museum when it opens in 2019.

Explore further: Bones of T. rex to make museum debut in Oregon

More information: www.burkemuseum.org/blog/burke … team-discovers-t-rex

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floathouse
1.8 / 5 (15) Aug 18, 2016
More than 360 semi and non-fossilized different dinosaur bones have been recently C14 tested, returning dates between 12,000 and 42,000 years before present. Those results, along with the semi fossilized T-Rex hind limb found by Dr. Mary Schweitzer and Dinosaur Jack Horner (which contained "elastic collegan and hemogloban elements) means that the antiquated theory of dinosaurs going extinct 65 million years ago is just that. An antiquated idea that has long since been proven wrong. The last of the large carnivores, herbivores and other giant flora and fauna went extinct over the Pleistocene Close - Holocene Start, rouughly 15,000 years ago, with small survival populations living up until the Younger Dryas event of 12,900 years ago. Also the Hell Creek formation isn't nearly as old as postulated here, as that is the same formation that Dr Schweitzer and Jack Horner found their T-Rex.
BackBurner
4.3 / 5 (6) Aug 18, 2016
More than 360 semi and non-fossilized different dinosaur bones have been recently C14 tested, returning dates between 12,000 and 42,000 years before present.


If I'm reading this correctly, I believe you're suggesting the idea of dinosaur saddles has not been thoroughly de-bunked?
Ojorf
3.8 / 5 (13) Aug 19, 2016
Fossils cannot be C14 dated, so your claim is bogus. Radiocarbon dating is only effective for samples up to about 50000 years old. Dunno where you got your fictitious info.
FredJose
1 / 5 (8) Aug 19, 2016
To those of you who are denigrating
floathouse
, please check out the actual research paper on the topic. This particular paper was ejected by the evolutionists after being presented at a 2012 Western Pacific Geophysics Meeting in Singapore because they could not stomach the results and its implications. Talk about intolerance.

The measurements are in accordance with accepted laboratory standards and indisputable.

Evolutionists are practicing a religion and are extremely, viciously intolerant of anyone who disagrees with their mythical belief system.

FredJose
1 / 5 (9) Aug 19, 2016
@Ojorf,
Fossils cannot be C14 dated, so your claim is bogus

This indicates a distinct ignorance on your part. Coal and diamonds are two very well known fossils and both can be carbon dated. For your information, both reveal C14 still present in distinctly measurable quantities with clear indications that they are therefore less than 100k years old.
FredJose
1 / 5 (9) Aug 19, 2016
@Phys1
Did they account for the well known systematic error of a factor 4000-5000 because the measurements were done by religious folks ?

Even if done by your religious scapegoats, the results are valid. Your inclusion of a 4-5k fudge factor is immaterial compared to the 65 million years error of the evolutionary paradigm. That outlandish 65My figure is not even in the ballpark, it's out among the stars.
cgsperling
5 / 5 (5) Aug 19, 2016
...This particular paper was ejected by the evolutionists after being presented at a 2012 Western Pacific Geophysics Meeting in Singapore because they could not stomach the results and its implications. Talk about intolerance....


Let's not mistake quality control for censorship.
FredJose
1 / 5 (5) Aug 22, 2016
@phys1, cgsperling and Ojorf
Let's not mistake quality control for censorship.

Totally laughable statement in view of the contents of the actual letter send to the author of the paper.
In there there's the nonsensical, un-supported statement that "there was an obvious error in the data". Except that the data was produced by a highly respected laboratory which does mostly work for evolutionists!

As it happened with the Neanderthals, so it will happen with the dinosaurs supposed extinction age of 65 million years ago. Evolutionists will be forced to regret their vociferous and hostile statements made against creationists and others(who are evolutionists themselves) who dared to point out the obvious error in that religiously held extinction date.

I'd like to see what your response will be then. The momentum is gathering pace and it's only a matter of time now.

Maggnus
5 / 5 (3) Aug 22, 2016
please check out the actual research paper on the topic.
That paper was rejected because of poor technique combined with magic physics. It is not wirth the time it took to read it.
This particular paper was ejected by the evolutionists after being presented at a 2012 Western Pacific Geophysics Meeting in Singapore because they could not stomach the results and its implications. Talk about intolerance.
Oh, you knew that. No dumdum, it was rejected because it was based on magical, unseen physics.
The measurements are in accordance with accepted laboratory standards and indisputable.
No they weren't, yes it is totally disputable.

Evolutionists are practicing a religion and are extremely, viciously intolerant of anyone who disagrees with their mythical belief system.
Nope, just intolerant of those who pretend to use science while actually ignoring it.

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