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Say Hello to Horridus

An almost complete skeleton of the mighty Triceratops has travelled from America to Australia and is now on display at the Melbourne Museum - but can also be viewed online.

Skeleton of a Triceratop towering above the museum's curator
Triceratops' exhibit at the Melbourne Museum. Credit: Museums Victoria | Eugene Hyland

It's called Horridus, a name given to the specimen by its new owner Museums Victoria, Australia's largest public museum organization. The nickname is derived from its full name Triceratops Horridus, and it lived 67 million years ago.

Commercial paleontologist Craig Pfister discovered the skeleton in Wisconsin in 2014 and took two years collecting all the bones. That's understandable, considering the Triceratops left more than 266 bones for the paleontologist to unearth. They were recently shipped in eight special crates to Australia.

These bones make up the most complete dinosaur remains at any Australian museum, according to Erich Fitzgerald, senior curator of vertebrate paleontology at Museums Victoria.

Horridus is nearly 85 percent complete, standing about 2.5 meters (8 feet) tall, 7 meters (23 feet) long and weighing 1,000 kilograms (2,205 pounds), he said. The skull is 98 percent complete and features three horns along with a majestic frill, the flat bone plate jutting out from the top of the Triceratops' head.

The Melbourne Museum opened the Triceratops exhibit, called "Triceratops: Fate of the Dinosaurs," this month.

It's a permanent part of the museum collection, so visitors don't need to worry about the dinosaur exhibit going away anytime soon, according to Fitzgerald. Its housing in a public museum also allows scientists to engage in scientific research on the skeleton, he said.

If a trip to Melbourne isn't on your bucket list, you can examine the bones of a 3D model of Horridus online.


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