Dino dig discovers 'fantastic' tyrannosaur fossil

Photo courtesy: Dr. Denver Fowler
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DICKINSON, N.D. - Dickinson's Badlands Dinosaur Museum is bringing back fossils from a recent dig in Montana. So far, the find has to come back in pieces, and to bring back the crown jewel, the museum's curator is asking for help.

The museum says the new find could be more impressive than Bill, a 1,500-pound triceratops skull found in 1992. Bill has been a prized possession for the museum.

Bit by bit, Darrah Steffen is chipping away the stone surrounding a 77-million-year-old tyrannosaur tail, something she'll be doing for the next few weeks.

"It comes away pretty cleanly and then later make it look a little bit nicer. You can see there's still a lot of sediment on the bone still,” said Steffen.

After clearing the area around the fossil, Dr. Denver Fowler, the Museum's curator, knew he found a gem.

"Usually you find the head sticking out or lots of the body is scattered. This was the feet sticking out and it's a beautiful solid cliff of rock behind it suggesting there was a complete skeleton,” said Fowler.

But getting the five to six ton boulder back to Dickinson will be the real challenge. The museum needs a helicopter to lift the boulder and money to pay for it.

"Somewhere between $25,000 and $50,000. That's the price we got quoted. We're hoping to work with some of the local land management agencies to bring that price down a little,” said Fowler.

Since this fossil predates the more popular T-Rex, Fowler hopes this fossil will shed some light on the evolution of the species.

Fowler says they are fundraising for the helicopter transport and they're hoping to get that out by the end of next summer. You can find the fundraising page here: http://dickinsonmuseumcenter.com/membership_donate/