Triceratops found in Thornton to go on display at museum this weekend

THORNTON, Colo. — The bones of a triceratops discovered at a construction site in Thornton this week will go on public display this weekend, officials said Friday.

Crews are working to get the 12 bones that have been discovered out of the ground at the site for the city’s new public safety facility building that is under construction at East 132nd Avenue and Quebec Street.

The collection includes a lower part of the jaw, two brow bones, parts of the shield behind the dinosaur’s head, shoulder bones, vertebrae and ribs.

The fossils are believed to be 66 million years old. They will be taken to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and will be on display this weekend.

“Based on what we’ve uncovered up to this point, this find is likely the most complete cretaceous-period skeleton ever found in this region,” said Joe Sertich, the curator of dinosaurs for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

“This is what we as curators dream about — getting a call about a possible fossil and confirming it’s not just a dinosaur fossil, but a record-breaking one.”

A rib bone weighing about 40 pounds was the first to be extracted by volunteers from the museum, the Colorado Office of Archaeology, Saunders Construction and the city of Thornton.

The triceratops is about the size of a rhinoceros, Sertich said. Crews will continue to excavate the triceratops focusing on the skull and frill bones.

Construction workers found the fossils on Aug. 25 while digging holes, and the city and museum confirmed they were the horn and shoulder blade.