67 Million years ago
Death of the icons. A T. rex 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.
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
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.
Say hello to our newest old friends.
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 the two most iconic dinosaurs — Triceratops and Tyrannosaurus rex — including what is thought to be the only 100% complete skeleton of a T. rex known anywhere in the world.
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).
This 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
- DR. LINDSAY ZANNO || Head of Paleontology, Associate Research Professor, NCSU
- DR. ERIC ROBERTS || Head of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University, Australia
- ERIC LUND || Manager, SECU DinoLab
- LISA HERZOG || Operations Manager, Paleontology
- DR. THOMAS CULLEN || Postdoctoral Researcher
- HAVIV AVRAHAMI || Research Assistant
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.
Don’t miss a thing.
There are many ways to be a part of this exciting adventure.
Register your interest today.
DISCOVER NC’S MOST-VISITED MUSEUM.
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.