In an extraordinary turn of events that underscores the thrill of discovery, three young boys on a casual hike in the North Dakota Badlands stumbled upon the remains of a juvenile T. rex. The discovery was made in July 2022 by 12-year-old Jessin Fisher, his 9-year-old brother Liam, and their 11-year-old cousin Kaiden Madsen, as reported by the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

The boys were hiking with Sam Fisher, Jessin, and Liam’s father when they encountered the rare fossil. Realizing the significance of their find, Sam contacted Tyler Lyson, a former classmate and the museum’s curator of paleontology. It wasn’t until the summer of 2023 that Lyson and his team returned to the site to excavate the fossil, a delay due to the necessity of obtaining an excavation permit.

“By going outside and embracing their passions and the thrill of discovery, these boys have made an incredible dinosaur discovery that advances science and deepens our understanding of the natural world,” Lyson remarked., via People. The museum plans to feature this discovery in an exhibit called the ‘Teen Rex Discovery’ experience, aiming to engage and educate visitors.

The paleontological team confirmed the remains belonged to a juvenile T. rex after analyzing the bone structure and growth patterns. Preliminary measurements of the tibia suggest the dinosaur was in its teenage years, measuring 82 cm in length compared to 112 cm for a full-grown T. rex. At the time of its death, the “Teen Rex” was estimated to weigh 3,500 pounds, stand 10 feet tall, and stretch 25 feet long.

This juvenile T. rex is a particularly rare find as most discovered fossils tend to be from older, larger animals. The teenage skeleton offers a unique opportunity for researchers to study the growth and development of the T. rex during a critical phase of its life.

In celebration of this discovery, the museum has documented the find and subsequent scientific investigation in a 40-minute documentary titled “T.REX,” which will premiere on June 21 at the museum’s giant screen Infinity Theater. The film promises to deliver a vivid portrayal of the T. rex and other Cretaceous carnivores through state-of-the-art CGI and cutting-edge paleontological insights.

Additionally, a temporary exhibit called “Discovering Teen Rex” will open to the public on the same day, offering visitors a closer look at the juvenile T. rex fossil. This story not only highlights the impact of youthful curiosity and determination but also serves as a reminder of the unexpected discoveries that can arise from simply exploring the natural world.



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