'Dueling dinosaurs' of Hell Creek find home in North Carolina museum

The fossil skeletons of two dinosaurs intertwined in what looks like a fight to the death have been donated to a North Carolina museum.

A non-profit, Friends of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, said in a statement it acquired the “dueling dinosaurs” fossils with private funds. The skeletons will be gifted to the Raleigh museum’s vertebrate paleontology collection.

The Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops horridus were buried together 67m years ago.

Their fossils were discovered on a hillside in the Hell Creek Formation of eastern Montana, and remain entombed within the sediment in which they were found.

The Hell Creek Formation is rich with prehistoric fossils, including the dueling dinosaurs whose value had been appraised at between $7m and $9m.

Fossils discovered on private land can be privately owned, frustrating paleontologists who say valuable scientific information can thus be lost. The dueling dinosaurs were discovered on a ranch.

The non-profit said their distinct preservation will give museum paleontologists an unprecedented opportunity for research and education.

The skeletons were the subject of a court battle over who owned them after their discovery in 2006. In June, a US appeals court ruled the fossils belonged to the owners of the land’s surface rights, not the owners of the mineral rights.


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