ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – One of New Mexico’s oldest residents has returned home to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.
Known as “Bisti Beast” for short, the 70-million-year-old fossil skull of a very large tyrannosaur was welcomed home to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science on Thursday.
The fossil was on loan to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. for the past two years.
Visitors at the museum said the dinosaur exhibit is their favorite, and they are excited to check out Bisti Beast once it goes on display. The fossil’s full scientific name is a bit of a mouthful, it was named after the location where it was found in New Mexico.
“This is a skull of a large tyrannosaur dinosaur called Bistahieversor Seleyi,” said Dr. Thomas Williamson, Curator or Paleontology at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. “This came from the Bisti/De-na-zen Wilderness Area, which is near Farmington, NM. It’s up in northwestern New Mexico in the San Juan basin.”
Williamson led the team discovered Bisti Beast in 1997.
“A lot of fossils you see aren’t really fossils. They are casts or reproductions of real specimens. This is genuine. So this is a genuine fossil specimen,” said Williamson.
It took years to put the fossil back together just as it looked when it last roamed the Earth.
“For example the lower jaw has some holes on the other side that we think was inflicted maybe by another Tyrannosaur,” said Williamson.
The beast has such an impressive story that the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. has had it on loan for the past two years.
“It’s surprising to a lot of people that New Mexico has such fantastic fossil specimens,” said Williamson.
Now, New Mexicans can once again enjoy and study this incredible fossil, which helps tell the story of a time when dinosaurs ruled the land of enchantment.
“Each one has a story to tell,” said Williamson.