Nov. 21, 2019 – Staff at Dino Labs Inc. are excavating the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old triceratops. In the photo, the skull of the triceratops can be seen with its front horn at the bottom near the centre of the photo, and the crest of its skull near the top left. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

65-million-year-old triceratops fossil arrives in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a Triceratops prosus

Something big just made its debut in Victoria.

A 15,000-pound shipment arrived at Dino Lab Inc. in Victoria on Wednesday night from Montana. It contained the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old triceratops embedded in rock and soil (or as fossil technicians call it, the matrix).

The dinosaur, aptly given the nickname Tank, is a perfectly articulated Triceratops prosus – or at least the front half of one.

“I think something big probably came in ripped it in half and took off,” said Dino Lab owner Terry Ciotka. “Or a flood could have washed it away.”

ALSO READ: New, hands-on dinosaur lab opens in Victoria

Whatever killed it may never be determined, but after it died, many other dinosaurs took advantage of the death: so far, teeth from three different carnivorous species have been found embedded between the bones.

Most impressive, however, is the big, scaly patch of soil found near the triceratops’s front leg: a skin imprint.

Now it’s up to the team at Dino Lab to excavate the bones from some of the soil.

“It’s going to be a really slow process. … We need to do it mostly by knife,” Ciotka said, instead of pneumatic tools. “It’s tedious and a lot harder but we have to be super careful.”

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The facility will also bring in in a paleontologist to help identify some orange stains within the soil to determine if they are natural iron deposits or protein left over from the triceratops’s blood.

Staff will be working away at the excavation for at least the next year, aiming for a partial excavation so that interested museums can look at it in its found context.

Visitors to Dino Lab will be able to watch the work happen as part of a daily tour.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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