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Construction Workers Stumbled Upon a 68-Million-Year-Old Triceratops Fossil in Colorado

Mental Floss logo Mental Floss 25/06/2019 Michele Debczak
a man that is standing in the dirt: Construction Workers Stumbled Upon a 68-Million-Year-Old Triceratops Fossil in Colorado © DMNS/Rick Wicker Construction Workers Stumbled Upon a 68-Million-Year-Old Triceratops Fossil in Colorado

In May 2019, a construction crew working outside Denver, Colorado uncovered what appeared to be the fossilized remains of a dinosaur. As The Denver Post reports, paleontologists have traced the bones back to triceratops—the three-horned dinosaur that walked the Earth more than 65 million years ago.

The construction workers were digging up land in Highlands Ranch near the Wind Crest retirement center when they struck upon the fossils. The partial skeleton they found includes a limb bone and several ribs.

Related Slideshow: Best places to see fossils of dinosaurs and other extinct species (Provided by Photo Services)

After studying the remains, paleontologists from the Denver Museum of Nature & Science confirmed that they once belonged to an adult triceratops. The rock layer containing the fossil was dated 65 million to 68 million years old. Triceratops went extinct 65 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous period—they were among the last dinosaurs alive leading up to the mass extinction event that killed them.

After stumbling upon the prehistoric specimen, the construction team and Wind Crest have agreed to allow the museum to fully excavate the site in search of more bones. Meanwhile, the uncovered fossils have been wrapped in burlap and plaster and transported to the Denver museum to be examined further.

The exciting find isn't a first for Colorado. Triceratops accounts for most of the fossils found in the state. In 2017, a different construction crew working near Denver discovered a skeleton of the dinosaur that included its skull.

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