CLAREMONT (CBSLA.com) — A local high school student has scientists buzzing over his discovery – a nearly complete skeleton of a plant-eating dinosaur called Parasaurolophus.
The dinosaur skeleton, nicknamed Joe, is the most complete ever found for this species of dinosaur, as well as the youngest and smallest of its kind.
The discovery was made in Southern Utah in 2009 during an excavation dig and credited to Kevin Terris, a high school student from The Webb Schools in Claremont.
“He spotted a piece of bone, called me over. I ignored it, I thought it was just a fragment, but then we later learned that it was just the tip of a nearly complete dinosaur skeleton,” Augustan Family Curator Andy Farke said.
Excavating the skeleton took 1,300 hours of work, but digging up the bones was just the first part of the process.
“We couldn’t just carry it, it way too heavy, the ground was way too rugged. So we had to get a helicopter to lift it up and out to the nearest road,” Farke said.
Scientists say Joe was less than a year old, was about six feet long and changed their view of this baby dinosaur.
“One of the things we learned from the skull of this dinosaur named Joe is that they didn’t look at all like the adult animals,” Farke said. “Where the adults had a giant, tube-like crest on top of their head, our little specimen only had a tiny bump that later grew into the crest.”
To learn more about Joe, visit dinosaurjoe.org.