Nov. 21, 2019 – Staff at Dino Labs Inc. are excavating the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old triceratops. In the photo, the skull of the triceratops can be seen with it’s front horn at the bottom near the centre of the photo, and the crest of its skull near the top left. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

65-million-year-old triceratops makes its debut in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old dinosaur

Something big just made its debut in Victoria.

On Wednesday night a 15,000-pound shipment arrived at Dino Lab Inc. at 491 Dupplin Rd. The package from Montana contained the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old triceratops embedded in rock and soil (or as fossil technicians call it, the matrix). The dinosaur, aptly given the nickname Tank, is a perfectly articulated Triceratops prosus – or at least the front half of one.

“I think something big probably came in ripped it in half and took off,” said Dino Lab owner Terry Ciotka. “Or a flood could have washed it away.”

ALSO READ: New, hands-on dinosaur lab opens in Victoria

Whatever killed the triceratops may never be determined, but after it died many other dinosaurs took advantage of the death: so far, teeth from three different carnivorous species have been found embedded between the bones, including from a theropod.

Most impressive, however, is the big, scaly patch of soil found near the triceratops’s front leg: a skin imprint.

Now it’s up to the team at Dino Lab to excavate the bones from some of the soil.

“It’s going to be a really slow process because we have the skin impressions over there, the theropod teeth, we can’t really take pneumatic tool tools to it. We need to do it mostly by knife,” Ciotka said. “It’s tedious and a lot harder but we have to be super careful.”

ALSO READ: Buster, the new B.C. dinosaur, has a Twitter account

Dino Lab will also be bringing in a paleontologist to help identify some orange stains within the soil to determine if it’s natural iron deposits, or protein left over from the triceratops’s blood.

For at least a year staff will be working away at the excavation, aiming for a partial excavation so that interested museums will be able to take a look at it in its found context.

Visitors to Dino Lab will be able to watch the work happen live as part of the business’s daily tour.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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