D.C. Will Soon Be Home To Its Very Own Tyrannosaurus Rex | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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D.C. Will Soon Be Home To Its Very Own Tyrannosaurus Rex

The rare T. rex specimen was previously on display the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Mont.
Museum of the Rockies
The rare T. rex specimen was previously on display the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Mont.

Brace yourself, dinosaur fans. The National Museum of Natural History will soon be home to a nearly-complete skeleton of the iconic Tyrannosaurus Rex.

One of the largest carnivorous land animals ever to exist on earth, the 66 million-year-old specimen weighs 7 tons and is more than 38 feet long. This particular dinosaur is special because more than 85 percent of the bones were recovered intact — a rarity for the iconic species hailing from the late Cretaceous period. Only a handful of such specimens exist in the world.

Nicknamed the "Wankel's Rex" in honor of rancher and amateur fossil hunter Kathy Wankle, who discovered the fossil on federal land in Montana in 1988, this dinosaur had been on display at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Mont., from 1990 to 2011. It will come as part of a 50-year loan from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"We are thrilled to welcome this extraordinary T. rex fossil to the Smithsonian," said Kirk Johnson, the Sant Director of the National Museum of Natural History. "With the arrival of the Wankel T. rex, our museum visitors will be able to marvel at one of the finest dinosaur specimens in the world."

The bones will make their way from Montana to D.C. on Oct. 16 of this year. Smithsonian researchers will then get to work scanning each and every bone, before trying to digitally recreate a complete and accurate skeleton, according to the Smithsonian Magazine.

An exhibit is currently planned for the fall of 2016, which will feature parts of the skeleton. Unfortunately for Jurassic Park fans, Wankel's Rex likely won't be displayed in its full glory until 2019, when it will take center stage in the museum's renovated Dinosaur Hall.

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