65-million-year-old T-Rex fossil arrives at DC museum

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- "It was like da-da-da, it was really exciting!"

Nine-year-old Bill Wang from Connecticut scored a front row seat to history and was simply amazed.

"It was so old that it's like ready to fall apart," he said.

Dad definitely gained cool points for delighting his little scientist in the making, but the real rock star was T-Rex himself.

The tyrannosaurus rex was FedEx-ed to the Smithsonian in 16 different crates carefully carrying all of the 200 plus fragile bones for the road trip from the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana. Estimated at about 65 million years old, the skeleton is nearly 85 percent intact.

"It lay in the ground much as it had died on the shores of Montana," explained museum director Dr. Kirk Johnson.

The rare find was discovered by Montana rancher Kathy Wankel in 1988 during a hike with her husband. The couple traveled to DC for the big reveal of T-Rex's right femur (thigh bone) and jaw bone. The land is owned by the Army Corp of Engineers. They officially loaned the T-Rex to the Smithsonian for the next 50 years. The deal was made official Tuesday - signed in ink, sealed with a handshake.

The T-Rex will be the centerpiece of the Natural History Museum's new dinosaur hall set to be complete in 2019. But to Bill, no need to wait the 5 years he got his T-Rex thrill today.

"It was like the most dramatic thing of my life!," the 9-year-old exclaimed.

So even though the full display of the T-Rex won't be available until 2019, folks can still catch a glimpse of the process in action as curators begin to piece this puzzle in the next 6 months.

READ MORE: http://www.wusa9.com/story/news/2014/04/15/tyrannosaurus-rex-skeleton-dc-natural-history-museum/7729211/


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