A team has been working hard for months, and still ‘The Nation’s T-Rex’ is four years away from display in Washington at the famous and world-renown Smithsonian Museum.
- The skeleton display will be 38 feet in height, and around 4,000 pounds in weight
- 85% of the T-Rex remains were found in 1988, and 80% will be put on display
- The team has used special metal pieces to hold the fossils together, instead of drilling and screwing the bones together
- The T-Rex will be displayed in the Smithsonian’s dinosaur hall, in 2019
‘The Nation’s T-Rex’, or otherwise known as the Wankel T-Rex, was found back in 1988 by Montana rancher, Kathy Wankel and her family during a hike. At that point in time, it was the most complete T-Rex ever found, and to this day, it remains one of the finest examples ever to be discovered. It’s also the first owned by the Smithsonian.
The dig uncovered around 85% of the T-Rex’s body, estimated to have been around 18 years old when it died. It’s one of the largest specimens of its species to ever be found, at an approximated height of 38 feet and said to have once weighed around 5.7 tons.
The team at Research Casting International (RCI) workshop in Canada, have gathered more than 130 pieces of the extinct creature, and fabricated another 96 in order to design its entire frame. They are responsible for assembling dinosaurs all over the world. Now, they are offering the same services to an important piece of history, handling it with care and connecting the bones.
Due to the fact that the majority of the bones are, in fact, genuine, the work demanded extra attention and gentle maneuvering.
Technicians did not want to damage the skeleton’s integrity by drilling into the bones in order to screw them together. According to paleobiologist for the RCI Matt Carano, the blacksmiths on the staff hand-forged metal pieces to hold the structure together.
The head, however, has been said to be an important part that will not be the original version. It has been deemed as much too fragile for display.
What has been more challenging to the RCI team was also to maneuver and assemble the pieces to be both anatomically correct and in a dramatic pose. The T-Rex won’t be simply standing there. It will be biting on another exhibit of a triceratops. With one leg on the ground, another on the flattened dinosaur underneath, the dramatic display will encompass how most would picture the T-Rex.
As stated by Peter May, the lead builder of the project, it took them several months to create the exciting pose and carefully connect the skeleton together with metal, in a way that it will not harm its integrity. And there’s still more work to be done.
The exquisite T-Rex skeleton will be on display at the Smithsonian Museum in 2019, and will be the centerpiece for their reopened dinosaur hall.
Image source: npr.org