Rare Triceratops "Cliff" goes on display

Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:24am EST
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By Sue Harrison

BOSTON (Reuters Life!) - They call him Cliff.

A 22-foot (6.7 meter)-long Triceratops dinosaur that roamed the earth some 65 million years ago will go on display this weekend in Boston, one of only four nearly complete skeletons ever found of the three-horned herbivorous giant.

Cliff made headlines in April when the skeleton became the first specimen of similar quality to be sold at auction since a Tyrannosaurus Rex nicknamed Sue was sold in New York more than a decade ago in 1997.

Cliff's journey to Boston's Museum of Science has more in common with a Hollywood adventure film than a dry science tale.

Since scientists excavated the bones from the Hell Creek Formation in North Dakota's fossil-rich Badlands, its resting place for millions of years. The fossils then took a transatlantic journey to Italy and then to France before coming to Boston.

In Paris, several well-funded museums in the Middle East were rumored to show interest in the fossils at an auction held by Christie's. But the winning bid of $942,797 came from an anonymous individual, not a museum.

That's where Boston's Museum of Science comes in.

Museum president and director Ioannis Miaoulis said the phone rang and a man asked if the museum wanted a dinosaur.   Continued...