Paleontology Research Lab, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
Department of Biological Sciences, North Carolina State University
After six years of planning, the Zanno Lab is ready to embark on a new research frontier:
The Dueling Dinosaurs.
Thanks to generous partnerships across our community, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences recently acquired the Dueling Dinosaurs. Rapidly buried together in a single event, the specimen is a Cretaceous cold case 67 million years in the making. Currently unprepared and consisting of nearly 30,000 lbs of bone and rock, the Dueling Dinosaurs includes two exceptionally well-preserved skeletons—including a Triceratops and the only 100% complete tyrannosaur skeleton yet discovered in North America—buried together in a potential predator-prey encounter. We have not yet studied the dinosaur carcasses and they remain entombed within sediment from the Montana hillside where they were discovered. Because of these rare burial conditions, each bone in the Dueling Dinosaurs skeletons is in its natural position and we expect to have access to biological data that is typically lost in the preservation processes. Entombing sediment preserves extraordinary features such as body outlines, skin impressions, and other soft tissues, as well as skeletal injuries and potential evidence of interaction, such as tyrannosaur teeth embedded in the Triceratops body.
In conjunction with the fossil acquisition, we have been designing a globally unique, behind-the-scenes visitor experience at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh. The renovation will be located on the ground floor of the innovative Nature Research Center and will include high-tech exhibit spaces, an area where you can explore the tools and techniques we'll be using to study the specimen, and a new, exemplary science laboratory dubbed the “DinoLab,” where we will conserve and research the specimens live in front of Museum guests. As a visitor to the DinoLab, you will have a unique opportunity to enter the DinoLab and talk directly to us. This state-of-the-art facility will also feature video feeds and research updates so you can follow along live as we work to reveal and share our Dueling Dinosaurs discoveries.