T.rex Tuesday Flashback - Getting Ahead in Hill City

It's hard to believe that it's been nearly a full year since our road tripping took us through Hill City, SD. But as today's T.rex Tuesday Flashback suggests, the calendar tells a much different story.

If you're a Tyrannosaur fan, the Black Hills Institute is a wonderland. As if being the home to specimen BHIR 3033 (better known as "Stan") isn't enough, the team at BHI has unearthed several other notable T.rexes, and, along with casts of several other well known rexes, has created an impressive lineup of cast and reconstructed Tyrannosaurus rex skulls.

The lineup of T.rex skulls at Black Hills Institute includes, from left to right: AMNH 5027, MOR 008,  MOR 980 Peck's Rex, LACM 23844, RTMP 81.12.1 Black Beauty, and BHIR 4100 Duffy.

The lineup of T.rex skulls at Black Hills Institute includes, from left to right: AMNH 5027, MOR 008,  MOR 980 Peck's Rex, LACM 23844, RTMP 81.12.1 Black Beauty, and BHIR 4100 Duffy.

In addition to photographs of the skulls of FMNH PR 2081 "Sue" and the holotype, CM 9380, the lineup also includes a who's who of the most impressive Tyrannosaurus rex specimens collected. AMNH 5027, well known from the American Museum of Natural History, starts off the lineup. Found in Montana in 1908, it is the oldest in specimen represented in the exhibit. Next to it, Museum of the Rockies' MOR 008 (Montana, 1967) and MOR 980 "Peck's Rex" (Montana, 1997) are of similar size. Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History's LACM 23844 was discovered in Montana in 1966, and is an impressive bit larger.

RTMP 81.12.1 bears the name "Black Beauty" because of the color if its fossilization. The original is displayed at the Royal Tyrell Museum of Paleontology in Drumheller, AB. It was discovered in Alberta in 1946. And on the other end of the display, BHI 4100 "Duffy" was discovered by Stan Sacrison (the same person who found the famous specimen who bears his name) in South Dakota in 1993. His skull was disarticulated, and the area was explored and excavated over five summers to find what was found.

BHIR is an impressive - if not overwhelming - museum space, and it's well worth a visit. I can't wait to go back again.