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Scientists busy digging out newly discovered triceratops skeleton

THORNTON, Colo. -- Scientists from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science got to work Wednesday digging out a newly discovered triceratops skeleton.

Construction workers found the fossils on Friday while digging holes for a new public safety building at East 132nd Avenue and Quebec Street in Thornton.

On Monday, the museum's Joe Sertich confirmed crews found bits of a triceratops skull and skeleton. It is believed to be about 66 million years old.

DMNS began excavating the fossilized remains Wednesday while a crowd of curious onlookers watched from behind a construction fence.

“I’m hoping to see some bones,” fifth-grader Rayna Duga said.

“The fact that it happened right close to us is super exciting,” her mom Jessica Duga said. “We do units on archaeology and paleontology, and so for them to see it in real life is not a chance that a lot of people get,”

According to DMNS, it has uncovered both horns, a jaw bone, a shoulder bone, several vertebrae and tailbones, including the tip of the tail.

In a Facebook Live from the dig site, Sertich said we “may have one of the more complete skeletons ever found in the Denver metro area.”

This triceratops skull is only the fourth found in the metro area. Triceratops from this area are about half the size of the ones discovered in other western states.

Sertich believes if this skeleton is nearly complete, it might help answer why the dinosaurs in the Front Range are smaller.

The dinosaur discovery site is closed to the public because it's an active construction site. The bones are not visible from the road or from the fences lining the construction site.

Once the bones are lifted from the ground, they will be transported to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science where volunteers will begin cleaning off the dirt and rock.

The cleaning process happens in a lab visible to museum guests. Sertich believes some of the bones migh tarrive to the lab for cleaning as early as Friday.