Excavation of triceratops fossil discovered in Thornton complete; largest Cretaceous find in Colo.

Posted at 3:23 PM, Sep 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-19 17:23:21-04

DENVER – The excavation of a triceratops skeleton discovered last month is complete, and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science says the find is the most-complete Cretaceous-period fossil ever unearthed in Colorado.

The museum says it recovered 80 percent of the dinosaur’s skull and 15 percent of its skeleton. On Monday, excavators discovered part of the triceratops’ sacrum around 15 feet from where its horn and shoulder blade were first found.

“I’m excited to start preparing everything we collected from the Thornton site and to get started on the science,” Joe Sertich, Denver Museum of Nature & Science curator of dinosaurs, said. “The fossils we’ve collected will help us build on our understanding of what the Thornton area was like 66 million years ago.”

The museum and city of Thornton postponed its excavation last week when the museum’s chief fossil preparatory, Mike Getty, died suddenly during the excavation.

The fossil was first discovered on Aug. 28 during construction on Thornton’s new city building. The museum, city and School District 27J will continue to raise awareness about the fossil as the museum continues its work.

Tap the image below or click here for a gallery of the fossil excavation.