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‘Dueling dinosaurs’: Fossils display an epic battle between a Triceratops and a T. Rex

The impressively complete skeletons of the warring dinos will go on public display in 2022

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In this Nov. 14, 2013, file photo, one of two “dueling dinosaurs” fossils is displayed in New York.

In this Nov. 14, 2013, file photo, one of two “dueling dinosaurs” fossils is displayed in New York.

Seth Weinig, Associated Press

Some 67 million years ago, a Tyrannosaurus rex and a Triceratops horridus seem to have squared off in what must have been a truly epic showdown. Their battle is now immortalized as paleontologists discovered the fossilized remains of both vertebrates buried together, side by side, in a single grave, CNN reports.

According to The Associated Press, the impressively complete skeletons of these “Dueling Dinosaurs” will go on public display in the near future.

About the fossils

The fossils were first discovered in 2006 as a portion of the Triceratops eroded out of sedimentary rock at the Hell Creek Formation in Montana, per CNN.

  • The remains of the Tyrannosaurus rex were discovered shortly after in a position slightly overlapping with the Triceratops and both specimens bear battle marks.

Upon excavation, the fossils were discovered to be two of the most complete dinosaur skeletons ever found. Researchers said they believe the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton to be the only 100% complete T. rex fossil in the world.

In this Nov. 14, 2013, file photo, one of two “dueling dinosaurs” fossils is displayed in New York.

In this Nov. 14, 2013, file photo, one of two “dueling dinosaurs” fossils is displayed in New York.

Seth Weinig, Associated Press

While paleontologists are far from finished studying the specimens, research up to this point has been incredibly fruitful, according to CNN. Analyses of the Triceratops have revealed skin impressions on the fossil’s frill and hips as well as tyrannosaur teeth embedded in its spine.

The T. rex and Triceratops fossils are both articulated, meaning their bones are all preserved in their proper place. According to CNN, finding just one articulated fossil is incredibly rare and the “Dueling Dinosaurs” discovery yielded two.

Both skeletons were extracted from the Montana rock formation, encased in plaster and safely stored until they could be studied, the site reports.

Where to see them

The “Dueling Dinosaurs” will go on display — and be studied — at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh starting in 2022, according to CNN.

  • Until then, those interested in the fossils can read up on them at the museum’s new website DuelingDinosaurs.org.

Friends of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, a nonprofit organization, said in a statement Tuesday that it acquired the fossils with private funds, and the 67-million-year-old skeletons will be gifted to the museum’s vertebrate paleontology collection, The Associated Press reports.

Key quote

Lindsay Zanno, head of paleontology at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and associate research professor at North Carolina State University, said in a statement:

We have not yet studied this specimen; it is a scientific frontier. The preservation is phenomenal, and we plan to use every technological innovation available to reveal new information on the biology of T. rex and Triceratops. This fossil will forever change our view of the world’s two favorite dinosaurs.