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Rare triceratops fossil found in Colorado at construction site

31 August 2017

The crews said they found the fossil while breaking ground on a new public safety facility in the city of Thornton, Fox 31 Denver reported.

"I'm excited to stabilize the area tomorrow [Wednesday] and collect the fossil and to see how much more is under the surface", said Joe Sertich, curator of dinosaurs at Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Crews working at the site found what appeared to be a triceratops skull and skeleton on Friday.

The discovery marks the third time a triceratops skull has been found along the Front Range.

The remains are older than most other fossils found along the Front Range, which usually originate from the end of the last ice age, around 10 to 12 thousand years ago, according to Sertich.

The find included the skull and several bones of a triceratops that roamed the Thornton area -located north of Denver-millions of years ago. According to Sertich, knowing that this is a dinosaur find, he is ecstatic and over the moon. This four-legged herbivore had two big horns above its eyes and one on its nose - hence its name that means "three-horned face" - as well as a protective frill at the back of its head made out of bone.

"It is incredible to have this find occur in our backyard", Sertich said in a statement.

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"A lot of times these will be plowed up and they won't be recognized", Sertich said, referring to fossil finds.

While only the shoulder and horn have been identified so far, the scientists will continue working to properly identify every triceratops bone unearthed from the site at Thornton.

The area has been stabilized by scientists from the museum, making it safe for them to start extracting the found fossils and look for any other bones.

Triceratops have long captured the imagination of dinosaur lovers.

The scientists said they hope the fossil will eventually be on display at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Construction crews have stopped work in the area of the fossil, officials with the City of Thornton confirmed. The first skeleton was assembled and mounted in an exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in 1905.

The fossil is not visible from the street, the city noted.

Rare triceratops fossil found in Colorado at construction site