The fossil skeletons of two dinosaurs intertwined in what looks like a final death match have been donated to a North Carolina museum.
The nonprofit organization Friends of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences said in a statement Tuesday that it acquired the fossilized animals with private funds. The skeletons will be gifted to the Raleigh museum’s vertebrate paleontology collection.
well, secret's out! we have acquired the phenomenal Dueling Dinosaurs to protect and study in perpetuity. We are assembling an amazing team, building a new facility, & forging into the unknown with research transparency and public engagement... let the journey begin! pic.twitter.com/qWaYzLmEAR
— Lindsay Zanno (@ExpeditionLive) November 17, 2020
The Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops horridus known as the dueling dinosaurs were buried together 67 million years ago.
Their fossils were discovered on a Montana hillside and remain entombed within the sediment where they were found. The nonprofit said the distinct preservation will give museum paleontologists an unprecedented opportunity for research and education.
Why's this important? The specimen includes the best-preserved skeletons of Triceratops and T. rex to date.
We'll have the only 100% complete skeleton of T. rex ever found. Both dinosaurs were preserved together in a potential predator-prey encounter. pic.twitter.com/HbZmAngpWW
— NC Museum of Natural Sciences (@naturalsciences) November 17, 2020
The skeletons are worth millions of dollars and were the subject of a court battle over who owned them after their discovery in 2006. In June, a U.S. appeals court ruled the fossils belong to the owners of the land’s surface rights, not the owners of the mineral rights.