“Yoshi’s Trike,” a newly excavated Triceratops, is now on display at the Museum of the Rockies (MOR).
Those studying Yoshi’s Trike believe he may have the largest horns of any Triceratops discovered to date. Yoshi’s Trike is about the size of an elephant, but research suggests that it might have died at a young age.
“By doing some histological investigation we can see that he still had some growing left to do,” Danny Anduza, a junior in paleontology, said. Histological investigation involves cutting open the bones to see the growth signatures inside, like rings on a tree stump. Anduza has worked on three dinosaur digs and has spent time working for the University of California Museum of Paleontology at Berkeley.
The specimen was excavated near Fort Peck Reservoir, outside of Jordan, Mont. It was initially discovered in the summer of 2010 by a Japanese volunteer from the MOR named Yoshi Katsura. The excavation crew was composed of volunteers from MSU, Great Britain, Italy and Sweden. The process took approximately seven weeks, and a helicopter was required to airlift fossils to a trailer in order to transport them back to the MOR.
“Paleontological fieldwork is an adventure, and sometimes a dangerous one, but results like these make it all worthwhile,” Anduza said. He described the blazing heat, horseflies and constant risk of electrical storms as some of the negative aspects of fieldwork.
The display mount for Yoshi’s Trike was created by Matt Smith, an artist at the MOR. The brown parts of the skeletal display were cast to represent fossil that was moulded at the museum from the Triceratops directly and the white parts represent fossils that were either missing or too delicate to effectively mould.
“It’s immensely satisfying to see a dinosaur that you dug up go on exhibit,” Anduza said. The Museum of the Rockies now has over 100 Triceratops specimen — more than any other museum in the world.