DENVER (KDVR) – Deep in the basement of the Denver museum sits a box that at first glance would appear to serve as the container of something the size of an eyeglass case. Upon further inspection, what you’d find inside are the items that instigated the birth, or hatching, of the Colorado Rockies’ mascot.

According to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the items sitting under the watchful eyes of those over at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science are the remains of a prehistoric herbivore that were uncovered during the construction of Coors Field back in 1993.

The discovery was made while excavating the corner of 20th Street and Blake Street, where the ballpark would be built. According to the NBHOF, this stirred up some public interest in favor of dubbing the future home of the Rox, “Jurassic Park.”

The birth (hatch) of Dinger

The day was April 16, 1994, and opening day for Coors Field was nearing ever closer. Across the city, at Mile High Stadium, however, a recent “discovery” unearthed at the soon-to-exist ballpark was brought out onto the field by two people resembling doctors.

According to the NBHOF, while the two “medical professionals” attended to the egg, it began to hatch, revealing the purple triceratops known the world over from that moment on as Dinger.

When Dinosaurs ran downtown Denver

The naming of the triceratops character was not just an ode to the specific discovery made during the ball park’s construction. In fact, the first triceratops that was discovered in Colorado was found in the Denver Basin back in 1887, according to UCHealth.

In an interview with Colorado Public Radio, the dinosaur curator at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science said that the Denver metro area, specifically the Highlands neighborhood, was an area consistently producing fossil discoveries as far back as the 1800s.

According to State Symbols USA, despite this honor as the professional baseball team’s mascot in Denver, the triceratops is not the state fossil.

In 1982, the first remains ever discovered of a stegosaurus were found in Canon City by some high schoolers and their teacher. Those remains, which currently are on display at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, inspired those in charge of the process to pick the stegosaurus as Colorado’s official fossil.

When discussing the inspiration for Dinger, officials from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science have not been able to identify what species the bones discovered during the building of Coors Field belong to, but they are certain it is a herbivore.

Now, the next time you are confronted by an out-of-towner curious about why a professional Colorado-based sports team has a prehistoric creature as their spirit animal, you can feel comfortable answering them with the support of dinosaur facts.