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Smithsonian acquires 66-million-year-old T. rex skeleton

Jonathan Marker | Science Recorder | June 27, 2013

Smithsonian acquires 66-million-year-old T. rex skeleton

“Wankel’s Rex” will be donated to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

According to Joseph Stromberg in his Smithsonian Magazine article, “After 103 Years the Natural History Museum Finally Gets Its Own Tyrannosaurus rex,” on October 16 of this year, the world’s most visited natural history museum will accept the delivery of the “Wankel Rex.”  This particular specimen of T. rex – officially known as MOR555 – was discovered in 1988 on a tract of land in Montana that at the time belonged to the Army Corps of Engineers.

The find is attributed to Kathy Wankel, an amateur fossil hunter from Montana, who found the first arm bones ever found belonging to a T. rex.  Wankel and her family were on a boating trip on the Fort Peck reservoir, and when they stopped on a small island to explore the area, she found a few bones.  When she took the bones to the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana, then-curator Jack Horner asked Wankel to find the site again, which led to the excavation of the most intact T. rex specimen in existence at that time.  The 85 percent intact “Wankel’s Rex” is 66 million years old, boasts a length of 38 feet, and weighs in at a staggering 7 tons.

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