If your travels happen to take you through Chicago’s O’Hare International on Tuesday, you’re lucky: You can drop in on a send-off party for a 66-million-year-old T. Rex fossil that’s Netherlands bound. And if you happen to be traveling on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines? Yeah, there will be a dinosaur on your plane.
The Tyrannosaurus-Rex skeleton (who goes by the name Trix, and, evidenced by the thick nodule above her eye socket, is likely a female) was unearthed three years ago in Montana by the Naturalis Biodiversity Center. She’s a rarity: The quality of the fossil is unlike any other large T. Rex find, says paleontologist Anne Schulp, of Naturalis, the National Centre for Biodiversity of The Netherlands, the museum that will house the dinosaur. Trix has more than 80 percent of her bone volume, which lands her a spot on the top three most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons worldwide. The skeleton is more than 40 feet high, and the bones are well-preserved. Even more impressive: it will be the only T. Rex in the world to be mounted with a skull.
Trix will officially go on display at Naturalis, on September 10, and her arrival is much anticipated.
“Acquiring this T. Rex will be comparable to an art museum obtaining a Rembrandt or van Gogh,” says Louis Piet, Chicago Consul General of the Royal Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Much like counting growth rings to tell the age of trees, scientists can count growth lines in bones to determine the dinosaur's age. Experts believe Trix was about 30 years old, a good age for a T. Rex. And, she may have been scrappy: Trix suffered various injuries, including jaw damage, possibly caused by a fight.
On Tuesday afternoon, around 3 p.m. Central Time, passengers saw the shockproof crates containing 13,000 pounds of Trix’s bones getting loaded on to the plane (there was also a green screen where travelers could pose with Trix). The Consul General even handed over Trix’s super-sized passport to the paleontologist flying on the plane.
Hoping to party like it’s the Cretaceous period? Well, you needed a boarding pass to get to Terminal 5 today. But if you still want to rub shoulders, or scapulas, with a T. Rex, you could always buy a costume and make an epic appearance like this guy on Ninja Warrior...