T.rex Tuesday for Jan 15, 2019: Denver’s Other T.rex

When you walk into the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, you’re greeted by what might be the most outrageously posed Tyrannosaurus rex to be found. And, after being distracted by the parkour rex cast (see some of the earlier posts on this site) and the other exceptional fossils displayed at the musuem, it’s easy to overlook one of the more interesting specimens in the DMNH collection. Sitting on the fossil-rich Morrison formation, Colorado was an early site for Jurassic-era discoveries, and remains a hotbed of fossil activity today. But it wasn’t until 1992 that the first Cretaceous-era Tyrannosaurus rex fossil was discovered at a building site in Littleton, CO.

The specimen, DMNH 2827, was scattered somewhat by the construction equipment, and likely was damaged as well. When all was said and done, researchers recovered one scapula, several leg bones, some vertebrae and other bones, and three teeth. Amid an impressive collection of fossils and casts, the displayed tooth from DMNH 2827 is easy to miss. But it’s worth a look, as it presents an important part of Colorado’s dinosaur history. It also provides a link to another soon to be displayed fossil - that of a Torosaurus that was recovered near Thornton, CO in 2017. Scientists studying that specimen made the shocking discovery of a fragment of Tyrannosaurs rex tooth embedded in one of the bones. But that’s a story for another visit.

Specimen DMNH 2827 consists of several leg and shoulder bones, ribs, and three teeth of a tyrannosaur found in Littleton, CO in 1992. Two of teeth are displayed in the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, where the specimen resides.

Specimen DMNH 2827 consists of several leg and shoulder bones, ribs, and three teeth of a tyrannosaur found in Littleton, CO in 1992. Two of teeth are displayed in the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, where the specimen resides.

As an aside, when Mrs. TrRT and I were at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science today, we went ahead and purchased a year membership. I wholeheartedly recommend supporting your local musuem by becoming a member. In the case of the DMNH, the cost of membership was less than two visits - something that will be easy, since it’s kind of our nearest major museum. Like most museums, our DMNH membership includes reciprocal admission to a host of museums all over the country - another great way to make your local support pay off.