• Joe Amon / The Denver Post

    Mike Getty, chief preparator at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, talk to the crowd and reporters Sept. 8 after exposing the post orbital horn of the Triceratops fossil that was found in Thornton.

  • Joe Amon / The Denver Post

    What a beaut: Take a look at that Triceratops' post orbital horn. The creatures' ribs, vertebrae and sacrum were dug up Monday.



The Thornton Triceratops has been unearthed.

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science finished its excavation of the pre-historic creature Monday after digging out a few remaining ribs, vertebrae and sacrum, or the backbone between the hips. With about 80 percent of the skull and 15 percent of the skeleton recovered, this is the most complete Cretaceous-period fossil to be discovered in Colorado.

“I’m excited to start preparing everything we collected from the Thornton site and to get started on the science,” museum dinosaur curator Joe Sertich said in a statement. “The fossils we’ve collected will help us build on our understanding of what the Thornton area was like 66 million years ago.”

The Triceratops was first discovered on Aug. 29 when construction workers building the Public Safety Building for police and fire discovered a horn. The sacrum was accidentally unearthed when construction workers were clearing away dirt 15 feet from where the horn was found. Museum workers also found a T. rex tooth, which likely fell off as the large dinosaur came across the dead triceratops while scavenging.

Some of the specimens have been put in the window of the museum’s paleontology lab for people to see as volunteers prepare the fossils.

The dig was postponed early last week after the museum’s chief preparator Mike Getty died at the excavation site. He was renowned in the field. Friends and colleagues said he had incredible skill finding fossils and removing them from the ground.

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