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Dr Erich Fitzgerald looking at the lower jaw of the triceratops
Photograph: Museums Victoria/SuppliedDr Erich Fitzgerald, Melbourne Museum

The world’s most complete triceratops skeleton is coming to Melbourne Museum

This 67 million-year-old dinosaur fossil will be on display in 2021

Rebecca Russo
Written by
Rebecca Russo

Melbourne Museum will soon be adding to its already impressive collection of natural history objects with the news that it has acquired a nearly complete 67-million-year-old triceratops skeleton. This particular skeleton – which weighs more than 1,000 kilograms – is one of the most complete and best-preserved dino fossils ever found. 

The enormous skeleton is 87 per cent complete and includes skin impressions, tendons, the complete spine and its skull, which is 99 per cent complete. The specimen is estimated to be six to seven metres long and more than two metres tall, making it larger than a full-grown African elephant. That’s not to mention the three horns and the recognisable frill, which is around 148cm wide. 

Museums Victoria’s senior curator of palaeontology, Dr Erich Fitzgerald, says the quality of this triceratops makes it one of the most significant and informative dinosaur fossils ever found.

“Despite its popularity, there are still many unanswered questions about the anatomy and palaeobiology of triceratops. This fossil comprises hundreds of bones including a complete skull and the entire vertebral column, which will help us unlock mysteries about how this species lived 67 million years ago. This will be one of a handful of triceratops skeletons on display around the world in which all bones, from the skull to the tip of the tail, are from one individual animal.” 

The new fossil will join the impressive collection already at Melbourne Museum, including a theropod claw that was the first dinosaur bone found in Australia in 1903. 

You’ll be able to see the triceratops in the ... well, bones when it joins the Melbourne Museum collection in 2021. 

In the meantime, visit the wonderful Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre to learn about Victoria’s First Nations history.

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