On the News | This triceratops is a Smithsonian icon. Now he’ll be fed to a T. rex. @ The Washington Post

On the News @ The Washington Post

Title: This triceratops is a Smithsonian icon. Now he’ll be fed to a T. rex.


“When a dinosaur nicknamed “Hatcher” was cobbled together a century ago, he was the first triceratops the world had seen in 66 million years. And he looked the worse for it.

The triceratops mount that went on display in 1905 was stooped and awkward. No one had yet found a complete skeleton of this species, so curators used bones from 10 distinct individuals and relied on educated guesses to put them all together. The result was a creature with a head too small for its body and arms of different lengths. Its feet came from a duck-billed dinosaur, an animal from an entirely different family.

“That skeleton was a little bit of a Frankenstein,” admitted paleontologist Matthew Carrano, dinosaur curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

Now Hatcher faces his greatest indignity yet: He’s going to be fed to a Tyrannosaurus rex.

Hatcher was posed clumsily in his original mount, with legs splayed at uncomfortable angles. Staff at what was then called the U.S. National Museum drilled holes through the ancient animal’s bones to install metal bars that held the mount together, something curators shudder at today.

Still, looming at the center of the museum’s “Hall of Extinct Monsters,” Hatcher was an impressive sight — in 1905, The Washington Post described the new specimen as “the most fantastic and grotesque of all that race of giant lizards known as dinosaurs.” (…)” READ MORE

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Lurdes Fonseca

Assistant Professor and Researcher at University of Lisbon
Sociologist (PhD), Paleontologist (Researcher in Micropaleontology), Majors in Sociology and Biology, Minor in Geology. Main interests in Paleontology: Microfossils, Molecular fossils, Paleobiology and Paleoecology. (read more about me)