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Construction crew finds rare triceratops fossil in Thornton

THORNTON, Colo. --  Construction crews working on Thornton’s new public safety facility uncovered a rare dinosaur fossil.

Crews working at the site at 132nd Avenue and Quebec Street uncovered what appeared to be a triceratops skull and skeleton on Friday.

Scientists from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science went to the site and confirmed the find.

“My heart was racing,” museum curator of dinosaurs Joe Sertich said. “I realized it was a pretty important dinosaur find.

“This is probably one of only three skulls of triceratops found along the Front Range area."

Most fossil finds along the Front Range are from the ice age, just 10,000 to 12,000 years old, but this fossil is much older, and much rarer, Sertich said.

“This dinosaur has been laying here for at least 66 million years,” Sertich said. “I’m over the moon right now about this dinosaur fossil.”

Sertich said officials were "really lucky" the bones were recognized as fossils.

“A lot of times these will be plowed up and they won’t be recognized,” Sertich said.

Construction crews have stopped work in the area of the fossil find, officials with the city of Thornton said.

"The DMNS scientists will stabilize the area, carefully expose the fossil, look for any other bones that remain uncovered, and safely extract them," city officials stated.

Scientists hope to eventually house the fossil at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.