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National Museum of Natural History Welcomes a T. rex

The National Museum of Natural History announced today that it has reached a 50-year loan agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to transfer a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton to the Smithsonian for eventual display in the museum’s new dinosaur hall, scheduled to open in 2019. The skeleton is one of the most complete T. rex specimens ever discovered, with 80–85 percent of the skeleton recovered, including the skull. Known as the “Wankel T. rex,” the rare fossil was found in 1988 by Kathy Wankel, a rancher from Angela, Mont., on federal land near the Fort Peck Reservoir in eastern Montana. It was loaned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Mont., from 1990 to 2011.

The Wankel T. rex was excavated in 1989–90 by a team led by paleontologist Jack Horner. The Museum of the Rockies announced plans to mount a second T. rex skeleton, also owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in its Siebel Dinosaur Complex in 2014.

T. rex was one of the largest carnivorous animals ever to live on land, reaching 40 feet in length and weighing more than five tons. T. rex roamed much of western North America 68–66 million years ago, alongside herbivorous dinosaurs such as the horned Triceratops and duck-billed Edmontosaurus. Only a few nearly complete skeletons of T. rex are on display anywhere in the world, and the Wankel T. rex is one of the most famous and best-studied among them. The completeness and preservation of this specimen will allow new research while it is on display as a centerpiece in the new dinosaur exhibition.

More information about the exhibition and the museum is available at, by calling (202) 633-1000 or through the museum’s social networks.