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  • 67 mya
    Triceratops being attacked by predators illustration

    67 Million years ago

    Death of the icons. A tyrannosaur and a Triceratops died and were rapidly buried together in a single grave, preserving their bones and tissues in life position, allowing for complete fossilization. Their bodies turned to skeletons, and then fossil. It is incredibly rare for even one complete articulated skeleton to be preserved let alone two together. For both these iconic specimens to be preserved intact for 67 million years is the rarest of the rare.

  • 2006
    Fossilized dinosaur bones

    Dueling dinosaurs discovered // 2006

    Dinosaur prospectors discover the Triceratops eroding from sedimentary rock of the Hell Creek Formation, an exciting find on its own. During excavation, the tyrannosaur is discovered and the moniker Dueling Dinosaurs is born. Both skeletons are carefully extracted, stabilized in secure plaster and burlap cradles and stored in a protected facility. Initial fossil preparation is conducted for identification.

    Photography credit: Clayton Phipps

  • 2024
    Rendering of Dueling Dinosaurs Exhibit

    Opening of the Dueling Dinosaurs Exhibit & SECU DinoLab // 2024

    After much planning and anticipation, the Museum will officially open the Dueling Dinosaurs exhibit including the SECU DinoLab in 2024. The fossils will be prepared on public display for the next five years.

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Say hello to our newest old friends.

Life Reconstruction illustration of Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus RexTriceratops and T. Rex skeletons illustration

Buried side by side during the Late Cretaceous on a subtropical coastal plain in what is now Montana, the Dueling Dinosaurs are among the most complete skeletons ever discovered of two iconic dinosaurs — Triceratops and a tyrannosaur — including the only 100% complete tyrannosaur skeleton yet discovered in North America.

The Dueling Dinosaurs have taken up permanent residence at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and you can be there for every amazing discovery as their prehistoric secrets are unearthed and broadcast to the world.


We’re digging in to answer big questions.

This remarkable find will give scientists at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences the chance to answer questions that have long puzzled paleontologists.

• What did the frill of Triceratops look like?
• Are there still original molecules preserved in the skin?
• Is there any evidence of feathers on the tyrannosaur?
• Is this an adolescent Tyrannosaurus rex or is Nanotyrannus a valid species?
• How did they die, and were they actually dueling?

Dig into more mysteries by clicking the dots on the image below.

The SECU DinoLab

A home fit for a king (and a three horn).


Interior rendering of SECU DinoLabThis discovery is so big, we’re building a whole new lab to contain it — a state-of-the-art space designed for the public to not only view but to experience. Within this research center, visitors will be able to get up close and personal with the fossils and meet some of the scientific team as they uncover long-buried secrets.

Meet the Team

Lindsay Zanno sawing rock

Dr. Lindsay Zanno is Head of Paleontology at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences and an Associate Research Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at North Carolina State University. She is one of the world’s leading experts on the evolution of theropod dinosaurs — a group that includes the iconic predators T. rex and Velociraptor, as well as living birds. Zanno and her team typically spend several months a year on expedition around the world, collecting fossils of dinosaurs and other Mesozoic vertebrates for research. She has discovered the remains of more than a dozen new species, including Siats, one of the largest North American megapredators, and Moros, the continent’s tiniest tyrannosaur. Zanno’s research is regularly published in high-profile science journals including Nature, Nature Communications, PNAS, and Scientific Reports, for which she was awarded top 100 author recognitions in 2016 & 2017. Her work has been recognized as Nature World News’ Top Dinosaur Stories, Discover Magazine’s top 100 Science Stories, and Discover Magazine’s Year in Science Top Research, and has been featured by notables such as the Science Channel, History Channel, National Geographic, CBC, PBS, NPR, NHK, Nova, and the BBC, among others. She was recently featured as Science Advocate for the Walking With Dinosaurs Arena Spectacular and currently serves as President of The Jurassic Foundation, a non-profit, grant funding organization supporting dinosaur research. She also coordinates several citizen science and STEM education projects and the real-time social media platform Expedition Live! connecting the public with paleontologists in the field. Zanno’s published impact includes >170 technical works and her lab has received over $6M in direct funding for research and education.

Eric Roberts climbing rocky hillside by the water

Associate Professor Eric Roberts is the Head of Earth and Environmental Sciences at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia. He is a sedimentary geologist who specializes in reconstructing the geological context of important vertebrate fossil localities. This field of research, known as taphonomy, involves piecing together the details that surround the life, death and burial of fossilized remains. Dr. Roberts’ research also focuses on dating these fossil deposits and reconstructing their ancient paleoenvironments. He began his research career investigating the taphonomy and geology of dinosaur ecosystems in Montana and Utah but has since worked on the discovery and context of some of the most interesting fossil discoveries around the globe. His research highlights include nearly 20 years of exploration for fossil vertebrates in America, Antarctica, Australia, China and all over Africa (Tanzania, Mali, Zimbabwe, South Africa). Among his most important contributions have been his work on the discovery and taphonomy of early primates and hominin fossils in Africa. In 2015, he was part of the team that discovered the new hominin species, Homo naledi, from a deep cave in South Africa. He spent ~ 5 years working on the taphonomy of this site, which was featured on the cover of National Geographic and ranked 2nd among the top science stories for 2015 in Discover Magazine. He has published over 100 peer reviewed papers and book chapters, and he has introduced dozens of students to research careers.

Eric Lund sitting on the ground

Eric Lund is the manager of the new SECU DinoLab. Eric is interested in the paleobiology and functional morphology of ceratopsian (horned) dinosaurs and faunal evolution in the Western Interior Basin during the Cretaceous Period. He received his BS and MS degrees in geology and geophysics from the University of Utah in 2004 and 2010. He has had the opportunity to conduct paleontological fieldwork in many parts of the United States including Utah, Montana and North Carolina, and in countries around the world including Mexico, Tanzania and Madagascar. Eric is currently completing a PhD through Ohio University, focusing his research around ceratopsid evolutionary morphology and functional anatomy while also serving as the Paleontology Lab Manager and Paleontology Volunteer Coordinator at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences working with Dr. Lindsay Zanno. Eric originally hails from Salt Lake City, Utah, and after a few years residing in Southeast Ohio, moved to North Carolina in June, 2018.

Lisa Herzog taking samples

Lisa Herzog is the Paleontology Operations Manager at The NC Museum of Natural Sciences, where she oversees specimen management and handling both in the lab and collections. Lisa holds a Master of Science degree in biological sciences from North Carolina State University and a Master of Arts in sociology from DePaul University. She is versed in the technical aspects of specimen preparation and the paleontological value of specimens as information and has over two decades of experience. She has prepared specimens from all over the world including multiple holotypes.

Lisa sees the field of paleontology as an interconnected science and considers all components to the process of research and discovery as essential. Working in a museum setting with responsibilities ranging from educational outreach to volunteer recruitment and training as well as lab management has provided her with a clear understanding of the importance of passing this information along concisely and effectively. So much of our scientific world and understanding is comingled with public interest and consumption that properly and correctly recording and disseminating information is key. To that end, Lisa participates in the process from field collecting to data management, fossil preparation, conservation, curation, measurement, analysis and presentation.

Her current work includes focusing on improving data management at the Museum, overseeing fossil preparation and training, studying new specimens of a unique clade of Mesozoic turtle known as Helochelydridae and researching unique solutions to the problem of pyrite decay in collections.

Thomas Cullen working

Dr. Thomas Cullen is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences and NC State University, where he is conducting research and designing education programs with NCMNS Head of Paleontology Dr. Lindsay Zanno and PhD student Haviv Avrahami. Cullen’s research focuses on understanding how dinosaur-dominated ecosystems were structured and how they responded to environmental change. He also studies the evolution, growth, and biodiversity of North American theropod dinosaurs, particularly ornithomimids and troodontids. He completed a PhD in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto and Royal Ontario Museum in 2017, and prior to joining NCMNS/NCSU in 2020 he was a postdoc at the Field Museum in Chicago, where he researched dinosaur growth and was a scientific consultant on several education and exhibit projects, including the permanent exhibit on ‘SUE the T. rex’. He has performed field research looking for dinosaurs and other fossils on multiple continents, in both polar regions, and across western North America. In addition to this, he is involved in numerous educational and public outreach programs (including on Twitter @cullen_thomas), recently served as a scientific advisor for the PBS documentary “Prehistoric Road Trip” and serves on the executive committee of the Canadian Society of Vertebrate Palaeontology. A major component of his work here at NCMNS involves the development and implementation of citizen science and education programs related to the Dueling Dinosaurs program that focus around paleoecological reconstructions using Late Cretaceous microfossil bonebeds.

Haviv Avrahami holding hammer over his back with landscape and rainbow in background

Haviv Avrahami is a PhD student at NCSU studying the anatomy, paleobiology, ontogeny, and phylogeny of orodromine dinosaurs. His research is focused on an exceptional assemblage of a new species from Utah. He is interested in big picture questions about these dinosaurs such as: how did these animals compare to their evolutionary relatives, what roles did these animals play in their ancient environments and ecology, why do some members of the species look so different from each other, and what were the environmental and ecological patterns that contributed to their rapid success and subsequent extinction?

Research Assistant Haviv Avrahami has over half a decade of experience excavating and hunting for dinosaurs in Montana, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and North Carolina.

Haviv’s previous research experience was focused on documenting the biodiversity of a Cretaceous microvertebrate fossil assemblage and quantifying shape variation among archosaurian teeth using 2D and 3D geometric morphometrics.

Haviv is passionate about engaging in opportunities to share paleontology with the public, specifically middle school and high school students from disenfranchised and underprivileged backgrounds. He hopes to present science as a tangible, realistic and attainable career path for students facing adversity. Haviv is currently working on designing a microfossil-themed citizen science program, associated with the Dueling Dinosaurs.


The Dueling Dinosaurs initiative is made possible by generous donations to the Friends of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences from the following organizations.

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Get Involved

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Register your interest today.

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    As impressive as the Dueling Dinosaurs are, they’re just part of an eye-opening Museum full of interactive learning activities and exhibits that illuminate the natural world and inspire its conservation. What else would you expect from the largest museum of its kind in the Southeast? Come see for yourself.

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