Travel Alberta

Royal Tyrrell Museum finds remains of "three-horned face"; Rare Triceratops fossil discovery almost on museum’s doorstep

Royal Tyrrell Museum staff have collected the remains of the triple-horned dinosaur Triceratops, just 30 minutes east of the museum near Drumheller.

Earlier this summer a former employee of the museum spotted the bones of the 65 million-year-old herbivore (whose name means “three-horned face” in Greek) becoming exposed through erosion. Dr. François Therrien, Curator of Dinosaur Palaeoecology at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, took a crew to investigate.

After 12 days of careful work, the team uncovered a large “log jam” of bones, including vertebrae, ribs, and other bones. The vertebrae are over 60 centimetres tall and the ribs nearly two metres long. The specimen was transported in six protective casings, or field jackets, with the main jacket measuring a massive 2.5 metres by 1.3 metres, weighing more than 2,000 kilograms
(4460 pounds).

Based on the shape of the vertebrae and considering the geological layer in which they were found, Dr. Therrien believes they may be the partial remains of a large Triceratops. Although Triceratops remains are common in Saskatchewan and Montana, they are rarely found in Alberta’s rich fossil fields. Until now, the Royal Tyrrell Museum has only had fragmentary Triceratops remains in its collections. With the new specimen, the museum now has associated bones from a single individual that can be used for comparative study.

Owned and operated by Alberta Culture, the Royal Tyrrell Museum is located six kilometres northwest of Drumheller on Highway 838. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information visit
Royal Tyrrell Museum