Katy L. Wood
25 Years and Thousands of Miles Walked to Find a T. rex
Blurb: After 25 years of searching, curator Anthony Maltese, of Triebold Paleontology Inc., was on the last day of his expedition to the fossil fields when he found what he has been searching for ever since he started fossil hunting: a T. rex.
After 25 years of searching, curator Anthony Maltese, of Triebold Paleontology Inc., was on the last hours of the last day of his expedition to the fossil fields when he found what he has been searching for ever since he started fossil hunting: a T. rex. On just this trip alone he had walked over 100 miles crisscrossing a ranch he and his field crews have been scouting and collecting on for well over a decade, yet until now the T. rex had gone undiscovered. The spot had been scouted several times over the years, but only this year were a few bones beginning to emerge due to erosion, allowing them to be recognized. Following the first few days of serious evaluation, it became apparent to Maltese and Triebold Paleontology founder Mike Triebold that this indeed represented an individual animal and not just portions of an animal deposited in the area by other means such as being washed away in a stream. Thus, the discovery was declared a dig site worthy of complete and thorough paleontological excavation and documentation.
The bones were scattered under soft mud making it relatively easy to dig up and clean, but tedious to track down all the pieces. At this time, roughly 15% has been found, but more may still be waiting under the dirt.
What has been found is already telling the story of a large juvenile that appears to have been scavenged after death by other predators, including other Tyrannosaurs. In addition to signs of potential cannibalism, there is evidence of several different pathologies—marks of disease, deformity, or previous injuries that show on the bones.
In paleontology it is common for the discoverer to name the specimen, so this little rex has been named “Valerie” after Maltese’s wife, something he jokingly said he’d get in trouble for if he didn’t do it. “Not Val, though,” he specified, “Valerie.”
For now, Valerie will be on display in the lab at the headquarters of Triebold Paleontology Inc., the Dinosaur Resource Center in Woodland Park, Colorado with several upcoming events for the public and press to see the specimen. Anthony will be hosting a talk about the specimen at Fossil Craft Beer in Colorado Springs on Wednesday October 26th from 7pm-8pm. The public can come and view the bones up close and meet the people working on it, including Maltese, on Saturday October 29th from 11am-3pm and will be able to see them through the lab window at any time. Additionally, press is welcome to come view the specimen from 9am-5pm starting Wednesday, October 26th. Additional press inquiries can be directed to Triebold Paleontology, Inc. Operations Manager Jacob Jett: Jacob@RMDRC.com.
About Anthony Maltese:
Anthony Maltese has been working with Triebold Paleontology Inc. as a curator since 2004 assisting with and heading projects related to fossils as well as the creation of museum grade replicas. His expeditions in the field have yielded several dinosaurs and fossil marine animals including a number of new species. He received a BA in Geology/Earth Science from the University of Kansas.
About Triebold Paleontology INC.
Triebold Paleontology, Inc. (TPI) has been providing a vast array of paleontological and exhibit-related services to museums, universities, and attractions for more than 33 years. Those services include providing mounted fossil skeletons and skeleton casts, remounting old exhibit specimens, 3D scanning and printing services, and much more. TPI has also produced and curates two blockbuster traveling museum exhibits, Savage Ancient Seas and Darwin & Dinosaurs. Additionally, they manufacture replica fossil teeth, claws, and scale model fossil skulls and skeletons for wholesale as well as retail customers around the world through their DeepTime Fossil Replicas company. All of the TPI activities are headquartered in the Dinosaur Resource Center in Woodland Park, Colorado.