An extremely rare pregnant Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur skeleton first found in Montana has gone on display, but Americans wanting to check it out for themselves might have quite a journey on their hands.
Montana has a history of groundbreaking dinosaur discoveries.
North America’s first identified dinosaur remains were found there in 1854 near Judith Landing in the Missouri River Breaks National Monument.
Naturalist Ferdinand Hayden is said to have found the remains of what paleontologist Joseph Leidy determined to be a duck-billed dinosaur called “Trachodon.”
It’s also the state where the world’s first identified T. rex was found in the Hell Creek area near Jordan in 1902 by paleontologist Barnum Brown.
The latest skeleton to hit the headlines, which has been named “Barbara”, is one of only three pregnant T. rex discovered. It will be featured at Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira, in New Zealand, from Friday, December 2, 2022.
Barbara was discovered by Nate Cooper, Clayton and Luke Phipps, Chris Morrow and Katie Busch in the Hell Creek Formation in northeastern Montana, buried in 66-million year-old sediment.
The skeleton’s excavation was a painstaking process that began with large earth movers, before moving to shovels, trowels, knives and eventually the meticulously delicate work of paintbrushes, which finally uncovered the fossilized T. rex.
Pathologic study by leading paleontologists indicates the specimen was an adult female that was almost certainly gravid (carrying eggs or young). Scientists believe Barbara suffered a severe foot injury that would have limited her moments.
Without the ability to hunt prey, Barbara likely either scavenged food or was fed by other members of her T. rex pack. The fact that her injury had healed suggests she lived for a long period after being hurt, but would most likely have had a pronounced limp. She was fortunate enough to recover to the point where she could mate.
Visitors to the museum will be able to see a healed metatarsal bone, which would have been probably the worst injury a massive animal like her could have suffered.
This is the first time Barbara has been made available for public viewings. Her skeleton is noted for featuring several of the dinosaur’s largest bones in pristine condition, including the head and jaws.
It is thought that Barbara is the eighth most complete T. rex ever discovered (44.7 percent complete) and measures 11.7 meters long and 3.4 meters high.
Barbara will go on display alongside Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira’s other big draw, Peter the T. rex, in what will be the first time in any place around the world that adult male and female T. rex have been displayed together.
“This is an incredible coup for Auckland Museum and all New Zealanders, to have a unique opportunity to see a male and female T. rex in the same space, at the same time. This dramatic display will be the envy of every museum around the world,” said David Gaimster, chief executive of Auckland Museum.