Montana State University

Baby Triceratops found by Museum of the Rockies researchers

July 21, 2006


Sonya Scarff, a recent MSU graduate, found the rare baby Triceratops specimen last week in Eastern Montana's Hell Creek Formation near Jordan. Scientists believe the find will help them understand more fully how the Triceratops lived and developed. MSU photo by Jay Thane.   High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
msunews@montana.edu
A team of researchers from Montana State University's Museum of the Rockies have unearthed a rare skull and frill from a baby Triceratops discovered near Jordan.

Found just last week, the fossil is only the third of its kind to be discovered and is from an animal that died approximately 65 million years ago. Scientists say the find is important because it allows them to delve deeper into the lives of dinosaurs and learn about their growth.

Sonya Scarff of Bozeman, who recently graduated from MSU in biology, found the specimen in Eastern Montana's Hell Creek Formation. She was part of a field crew under the direction of Jack Horner, curator of paleontology at the Museum of the Rockies.

Horner says he is thrilled about the new discovery, which he believes it is more rewarding than finding a Tyrannosaurus rex because baby Triceratops are so rare.

"It is a precious size," Horner said. " The orbital horns are only about three or four inches long." He said he thinks the animal was less than one year old when it died.

Museum officials said the skull, now at the Museum of the Rockies, will be extracted from the rock that surrounds it so it can be studied further. The skull will then go on display in the museum's new Dinosaurs Under the Big Sky exhibit, set to open in June 2007. The exhibit will include the largest collection of Triceratops specimens in the world.

Discovery Communications also released the news of the find as part of a major enhancement of its Discovery News service. The service includes daily video Webcasts featuring breaking news. During the next three weeks Discovery News will air 10 field reports from Horner and his team about the Hell Creek formation dig as well as general paleontology topics.

The public can learn more about the baby Triceratops by visiting www.discovery.com and then clicking on Discovery News. People can also track the progress of the field crew and learn about additional discoveries by checking the Discovery Web site weekly until Aug. 11.

Or, for more information, go to the Museum of the Rockies Website: http://www.museumoftherockies.org/

Jamie Cornish, (406) 994-2652, jcornish@montana.edu