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T. rex and old news in Bozeman, Montana.

T. rex and old news in Bozeman, Montana It was fall 1988 when two amateur fossil hunters digging in Montana's remote eastern badlands stumbled across a moment frozen in time for millions of years. Before them lay the forearm and deathbed of what would reveal itself as the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex ever found.

After resting in peace for some 65 million years, this T. rex is now on view in a paleontology lab at the Museum of the Rockies, in Bozeman. You can also see lifelike dinosaur displays in the museum's recently opened Phyllis B. Berger Dinosaur Hall.

Who was Tyrannosaurus rex?

Despite the 10-foot-tall carnivore's notoriety as the fiercest predator of the Cretaceous period (145 to 65 million years ago), relatively tittle is known about it.

The latest skeleton, only the eight recovered, is 85 to 90 percent complete> others have been no more than 50 percent. Weekdays for the next two years, you can watch workers prepare bones for future display> call (406) 994-2251 for times.

Signs explain how much is known about T. rex and what scientists hope to learn from this latest discovery. Among the questions is what purpose the tiny but muscular forearms served. These are the first ever found and are thought to have been capable of lifting up to 400 pounds (previous renditions of T. rex forearms were speculative, based on knowledge of near relatives). by studying the dinosaur's 6-inch-long teeth, scientists hope to discover whether it was really the ferocious predator of legend, or merely a scavenger.

More dinosaurs in a new hall

Since 1978, Jack Horner, the museum's curator of paleontology and the overseer of T. rex, has uncovered extraordinary finds and put forth new dinosaur theories, including one affirming that dinosaurs were warm-blooded and another stating they nurtured their your. His vision gave form to the displays in the new Berger dinosaur hall.

Rather than dangling a seried of skeletons, which give little clue to the dinosaurs' looks, the new hall features 32 life-size, full-bodied creatures as they might have looked when herds of thousands roamed what is today the eastern front of the Rockies from Alberta to New Mexico.

Based on Hormer's 1978 discovery of a dinosaur nesting area near Choteau that's become known as Egg Mountain, a duck-billed dinosaur (Maiasaura, "good mother lizard") is hwon gently feeding a nest of hungry youngstersf this display demonstrates Horner's theory that the duck-billed dinosaurs tended their young as birds do. Other creatures include a flying Quetzalcoatlus with a 12-foot wingspan, another standing on long legs, and a striped Orodromeus.

Displays use computers and microscopes to teach about the dinosaur era, to describe fossilization, and to explain how knowledge about dinosaurs has evolved. Other exhibits show the development of a Maiasaura thighbone from birth, what colors dinosaurs might have been, and how dinosaurs migrated from the shores of an inland sea to dry, upland nesting colonies to feed and care for their young.

The museum, on the campus of Montana State University, is at S. Sixth Avenue and Kagy Boulevard. Hours are 9 to 5 Mondays through Saturdays, 12:30 to 5 Sundays. Cost is $3 adults, $2 ages 5 through 18, $10 families.
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Title Annotation:tyrannosaurus rex; Museum of Rockies
Date:Mar 1, 1991
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