A T. rex hasn’t been seen in Charleston in over 66 million years, but on February 6, 2017, one will take up residency in the rotunda at the College of Charleston Addlestone Library. A replica, of course, named Bucky who is a mere 37 feet long and towers above one and all. This specimen is one of the most complete skeletons of any tyrannosaur known to date. The preservation of the bone is superb and has been rearticulated and mounted so that all parts are visible in glorious 3D.
In 1998, a rodeo cowboy in South Dakota named Bucky Derflinger was out training a young horse when he saw a huge toe-bone sticking out of the ground on his ranch. At the time he was 20 years old, the youngest person to ever discover a T. rex. The name of the finder of such skeletons is often transferred to the bones. Hence the T. rex was named after the cowboy. Bucky, the dinosaur is from the Hell Creek Formation (66 million years old) and was found alongside the bones of two other late Cretaceous-aged dinosaurs, Triceratops and Edmontosaurus. Bucky’s bones were scattered over a football-sized field. Bucky is one of the most complete T. rex ever found, but she was missing her skull and her legs which were recreated using a composite of other skulls and skeletons that have been found and scaled for the size. Overall, 101 bones were found, making her skeleton 34% complete.
Dr. Philip Manning, Professor of Paleontology and Director of the Mace Brown Museum of Natural History from the Department of Geology & Environmental Geosciences at the College of Charleston said:
“Dinosaurs often conjure images of nature red in tooth and claw; this Late Cretaceous predatory dinosaur from South Dakota delivers this on all counts. The shape and more robust nature of this predator skeleton suggest it was a young female. She was clearly a natural born killer, but also a resilient survivor. I have no doubt that this remarkable dinosaur will inspire all who gaze upon her immortal fossil remains.”
Dr. Victoria Egerton, Curator of the Mace Brown Museum of Natural History, who also teaches in the Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences said:
“Bucky is a fantastic dinosaur that will enable us to learn more about the prehistoric past. We are lucky to have such a great skeleton on loan to us from The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. This dinosaur even preserves a wishbone (furculum), which is one of the characteristics that links this toothy predator to its modern descendants, the birds.”
Bucky will be on exhibit through July 2017.