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Triceratops skull leaving Colorado after 41 years

Fossil hunters dug up the Triceratops skull in Wyoming in 1891.
Credit: Glenn Asakawa/University of Colorado
From left to right: William Taylor, assistant professor of anthropology and curator of archaeology, Carlton Shield Chief Gover, PhD student in anthropology, Nick Conklin (kneeling) of 3D Printing Colorado and Sarah Buckser scan the triceratops skull at the CU Museum of Natural History.

BOULDER, Colo. — A beloved member of the University of Colorado Boulder (CU) campus is departing to Washington, D.C.

The fossil skull of a Triceratops dinosaur will be leaving the CU Museum of Natural History after being on display for more than 40 years.

CU said a team from the Smithsonian Institution — which loaned the skull to CU Boulder in 1981 — will disassemble the Triceratops beginning May 9 in preparation of its shipping back to the National Mall.

At the Smithsonian, scientists from around the world will be able to study the skull in greater-than-ever detail and possibly unlock new secrets.

“It’s going to a good place: home,” said Jaelyn Eberle, curator of fossil vertebrates for the CU Museum.

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Fossil hunters dug up the Triceratops from Wyoming in 1891. The Triceratops will remain on display for free in Boulder until Sunday, May 8.

CU said its museum staff haven’t yet decided what will take the place of the Triceratops when it departs in May.

“Just the other day I saw a little kid, probably in preschool, walk up to that dinosaur and her mouth just fell open,” Eberle said. “Even though we’ve had it since the 1980s, I don’t think it has ceased to excite people. At the same time, now we have the chance to share something new with visitors, and I think that’s equally exciting.”

Credit: Glenn Asakawa/University of Colorado
From left to right: William Taylor, assistant professor of anthropology and curator of archaeology, Carlton Shield Chief Gover, PhD student in anthropology, Nick Conklin (kneeling) of 3D Printing Colorado and Sarah Buckser scan the triceratops skull at the CU Museum of Natural History.

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