Scientists Search For The Truth Behind The 'Duelling Dinosaurs'

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Scientists are racing to find the truth behind the fossils of the famous 'duelling dinosaurs'.

The first ever complete skeleton of a T. rex was uncovered in a creek in Montana, US, back in 2006, entwined with that of a Triceratops.

It has long been thought the pair were fighting when they died and, subsequently, buried together, with a large amount of evidence pointing to that conclusion.

However, despite having been found 14 years ago, experts are still not certain whether they were doing battle or were, in fact, pushed together due to geological movement over millions of years.

A crack team of scientists at James Cook University are now working hard to uncover the truth.

JCU's Associate Professor Eric Roberts, who is leading the geological aspect of the study, said that due to the fact they were removed by private fossil hunters, who didn't do a proper geological survey beforehand, it's a very difficult task.

He told the Brisbane Times: "I've been going out to the site with a group of students from the university and we've been trying to get our heads around all of the other context that typically goes with a fossil like this.

"So my role is to put that context back in so we can evaluate some of the very exciting hypotheses around this specimen.

"They call it the Duelling Dinosaurs, but we don't know whether they were duelling or not, however, there are some pretty exceptional evidence to suggest that is a possibility."

For example, researchers found teeth embedded into the spine of the Triceratops, while the T-Rex appears to have broken a number of its teeth, which points towards the two grappling with one another.

The remains were recently donated to North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and are set to go on display at some point in 2022.

Prof Roberts added: "Despite their fame, there's only been a handful of T-rex specimens ever recovered and this will be the most complete T-rex skeleton ever found, it's at least 99 percent complete and articulated.

"And it looks like this might be almost a complete Triceratops skeleton as well, and to find both of these in the same deposit, that's exciting."

It's taken years to extract the 14-ton skeletons and arrange their purchase and sale, which has meant relatively little research has been carried out.

Dr Lindsay Zanno, head of palaeontology at North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, said it was a monumental moment for the scientific world.

She said: "We have not yet studied this specimen; it is a scientific frontier.

"The preservation is phenomenal, and we plan to use every technological innovation available to reveal new information on the biology of the T. rex and Triceratops.

"This fossil will forever change our view of the world's two favourite dinosaurs."