A group of construction workers near Denver were breaking ground on a new retirement center, but instead found something even more ancient: the bones of a horned dinosaur.
As the Denver Post reported, a limb bone and several ribs were uncovered at a construction site in Highlands Ranch and has now attracted the interest of local paleontologists. A team from the Denver Museum of Nature & Science are now investigating the fossil bed that was uncovered and looking for the rest of the skeleton. They are also trying to determine the size and scope of the fossil bed, which is somewhere between 65 million- and 68 million-years-old.
Local paleontologists say it is an unbelievable find.
“It’s always exciting to get a call about possible fossils, and I can’t wait to share more details as we continue to dig,” said Dr. Tyler Lyson, curator of vertebrate paleontology at DMNS. “Finds like this, while relatively rare, are a great reminder of how dynamic our planet is and how much more there is out there to discover.”
The dinosaur bones have now been uncovered twice in the last week at the site, which is being managed by Brikmann Constructors. As the magazine 5280 reported, the construction workers who initially found the bones had a hard time believing what they were seeing. Workers said they were cutting into a hill filled with layers of sand and clay when they saw what was described as “bone-like protrusions.”
The team of construction workers, who said they have seen almost everything when digging, have now seen it all.
“I’ve found plenty of trash,” said David Rahm, the project manager at the construction site. “I was part of a team that dug up napalm, stored in enough 55 gallon barrels to fill a few semi-trucks, in Southern California. But this is my first dinosaur.”
The location of the unearthed dinosaur bones were also a bit fortuitous, construction workers said. The bones were found in a place outside the major digging on the project, which has allowed researchers to take their time in locating the bones while the rest of the work was going on nearby. They are continuing their work as the rest of the project goes on.
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It was not clear what would happen with the dinosaur bones found at the construction site near Denver, but several local news outlets have been able to share pictures of the partially uncovered bones. The site is not open to the public.