Dinosaur in Denver

Quick, name that dinosaur. Triceratops, of course. Most grade school children could tell you that. And yes, I know you know dinosaur fossils are discovered all the time. No big whoop, right?


This time the triceratops in question was found just two miles from my house in Thornton, CO. I don’t know why I find that so exciting, but I do. His brother could be snoozing under my house right now!

Out here in the far northeast Denver suburbs, there’s still a lot of open land, and it seems a new subdivision pops up every couple of months. Our triceratops, however, was discovered on the site of a new public safety (fire and police) building. Luckily, when an obstruction stopped one of the machines, a worker realized he was looking at bones, not rocks.

Denver Museum of Nature and Science curator of dinosaurs Joe Sertich identified the skull as a triceratops, one of only three found in Colorado’s Front Range. He said it is probably about 66 million years old. Most fossils found in Denver are from the Ice Age roughly 10,000-12,000 years ago, belonging to mammoths, camels and the like, Sertich said. “I’m over the moon right now that this is a dinosaur fossil,” he said.

Me too, Joe. Me too.

Update, Dec. 9, 2917: Experts in Denver have determined that the dinosaur is not a triceratops after all but a torosaurus, a distant cousin of the triceratops and much more rare. The Thornton torosaurus is the only one found in Colorado and one of only a handful ever found. Torosaurus is about the same size as triceratops, but has a much longer frill, and the frill has an oval opening in the middle.

(Photo: City of Thornton)


7 thoughts on “Dinosaur in Denver

    1. It is! Everybody wants to go see, but the dig area can’t be seen from the nearest street and of course the whole construction area is roped off. I read somewhere they’d be taking some of the bones down to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science this weekend to clean them, and that the lab where that’s done can be viewed by the public. Glass walls? I dunno. Bet they get a big crowd from here.

  1. You and I both know that this is all rubbish, the earths only been here 6 or 7 thousand years and there’s no mention of Mr Noah taking any of these things on board his boat!

    This is just another Hollywood publicity stunt for a Tom Cruise movie!

... and that's my two cents