College student helps discover 65-million-year-old Triceratops skull


A 23-year-old college student fulfilled his childhood dream of working with dinosaurs and helped discover a Triceratops skull during a dig in North Dakota.

Harrison Duran, a biology student at the University of California at Merced, stumbled upon the 65-million-year-old dinosaur skull on June 4 as he worked alongside Michael Kjelland, a professor and experienced excavator, during a two-week dig in the Badlands, the university said in a news release.

Kjelland, a biology professor at Mayville State University in North Dakota, arranged for a dig at the Hell Creek Formation, a “world-famous dinosaur fossil site” where he had found a Triceratops skull the year before. He invited Duran along after meeting him at a biotechnology conference where Duran informed him of his love of fossils and dinosaurs, Kjelland told ABC News.

Three days into the dig, Kjelland decided to venture to a ravine that hadn’t been searched before and spotted something that he first assumed was a piece of wood. He called for Duran after noticing vein grooves in the dinosaur’s neck frill and what looked like the base of a brow skull.

It took about a week to fully excavate the skull, which was then coated in foil and plaster, wedged onto a makeshift box and lifted onto a truck with the help of a local cattle rancher and his family, according UC Merced.

The Triceratops to which the skull belonged was named “Alice” after the woman who owns the land where it was found, the university said.

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