Denver museum collaborates to unearth T. rex remains discovered by three boys in North Dakota

As the two young brothers and their cousin were exploring a fossil-filled section of the North Dakota badlands, they stumbled upon a remarkable find that left them utterly stunned; a T. rex bone protruding from the earth.

On Monday, the three individuals made their discovery known during a Zoom news conference. Meanwhile, workers at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science are getting ready to chip away at the fossil encased in rock at the Discovering Teen Rex exhibit. The exhibit is set to open on June 21, which is also the same day the film “T.REX” about the discovery in July 2022 will be released.

When Kaiden Madsen was only 9 years old, he accompanied his cousins Liam and Jessin Fisher, who were 7 and 10 years old respectively, on a hike in Marmarth, North Dakota. The hike took place on a piece of land owned by the Bureau of Land Management, and it was organized by the boys’ father, Sam Fisher, who is an avid hiker.

“I always find it exciting to venture out because you never know what surprises might be waiting for you. The diverse range of rocks, plants, and wildlife that you come across is simply fascinating,” he exclaimed.

When Liam Fisher and his father joined the group, they were the first to spot the bone of the young carnivore. The creature had died approximately 67 million years ago and was preserved in the Hell Creek Formation, a renowned location for paleontologists that spans across Montana, Wyoming, and the Dakotas. Over the years, the formation has produced some of the most well-preserved fossils of T. rex, including famous specimens like Sue, an exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago, and Wyrex, a star attraction at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

At the time, none of them were aware of what they had stumbled upon. Liam had initially assumed that the bone jutting out of the rock was simply a piece of unidentifiable fossil fragments, which he humorously referred to as “chunk-osaurus.”

Sam Fisher took a photo and sent it to his family acquaintance, Tyler Lyson, who works as the associate curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

Lyson’s initial suspicion was that the dinosaur they discovered was a commonly found duckbill dinosaur. However, he took the initiative to lead an excavation team last summer, and even included three young members, two boys, and one girl, Emalynn Fisher, who is now 14 years old.

Lyson and Jessin quickly realized that their excavation had uncovered something truly extraordinary. As they began digging in the area where they thought they might find a neck bone, it became clear that they had stumbled upon a remarkable discovery.

The discovery was captured on film by a documentary crew from Giant Screen Films.

Dave Clark, a crew member of the documentary later narrated by Sir Sam Neill, vividly remembers the electrifying moment. “You got goosebumps,” he exclaimed.

According to Liam, his friends were skeptical and had a hard time believing him. He recalled, “They didn’t believe me one bit.”

The fossil, which the brothers have lovingly named “The Brothers”, includes Jessin, Kaiden, and himself. They consider Kaiden to be just like another sibling, and the three of them share a special bond.

According to the tibia’s size, specialists predict that the dinosaur was around 13 to 15 years old at the time of its death. It was estimated to weigh approximately 3,500 pounds (1,587.57 kilograms), which is roughly two-thirds the size of a fully grown adult dinosaur.

According to Lyson, over 100 separate T. rex fossils have been discovered, although most are incomplete. The completeness of this specific fossil has yet to be determined, as only a leg, hip, pelvis, a few tailbones, and a significant portion of the skull have been identified thus far.

The museum anticipates that it will take roughly a year to chip away at the rock, and the public will have the opportunity to witness the process.

Lyson expressed his desire to share the preparation of the fossil with the public, stating that it was a remarkable experience.

Just a couple of days ago, Jessin, a passionate fan of the Jurassic Park movies and an aspiring paleontologist, stumbled upon a turtle shell while on the hunt for fossils.

His advice to other children was simple yet effective – “Put down your electronics and go out hiking.”

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