Aside from the rare Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton that the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center is in possession of, there are a handful of other prehistoric beasts for visitors to admire. In this article, you will learn about some of the skeletons that are on display at the Center, including a medium-sized creature that ate both plants and animals.
Before the small to medium sized ornithischian dinosaur nicknamed Peep came to live at the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center in Colorado, it was held at the Museum of Ancient Treasures in Wichita, Kansas. Discovered by Walter W. Stein in 2000 at a site in Harding County, South Dakota, the Thescelosaurus dinosaur represents an omnivore ”“ a dinosaur that eats both plants and animals. The specimen measures 9 feet tall, and once lived during the Late Cretaceous period, which was 66 million years ago.
The dinosaur is related to other small hypsilophodonts, such as Hypsilophodon, Dryosaurus, Tentontosaurus and Orodromeus ”“ a collection of creatures that possess primitive skeletal features. A difference in the Thescelosaurus is that they retain teeth in their sockets instead of possessing rows of tooth batteries that are seen in the hadrosaurs and ceratopsians. When Peep was discovered, there were no fossilized organs associated with the specimen. However, another example of a Thescelosaurus on site did have the remnants of a fossilized heart preserved within the chest cavity.
“Willow” is considered one of the most impressive recent dino discoveries regarding the species. This particular find was special because the soft organs and tissues are rarely found in a fossilized state. Researchers were able to study Willow’s heart to learn that some dinosaurs were born with a heart possessing four chambers ”“ just like the closest relatives of the dinosaurs ”“ the crocodiles and birds. The specimen also proved that dinosaurs were warm blooded creatures, just like mammals and birds.
Nicknamed “Stiggy,” the Center has on site a member of the pachycephalosaurid family of dinosaurs, which belongs to the same family of dinosaurs that includes the Pachycephalosaurs. Referred to as the “spiny river devil,” the dinosaur represents the Stygimoloch species, which lived 66 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period. The specimen of the omnivore (eats both plants and animals)was found in Montana and measures 10 feet in length.
These types of dinosaurs were smaller and had a skull that was not as thick as the Pachycephalosaurus. Their domed skull had large spikes on it with many different clusters of smaller nodes. While the species lived during the late Cretaceous, scientists have uncovered a handful of primitive characteristics, including five fingers. Other characteristics of the dinosaur include teeth shaped like leaves found in the back of its mouth, sharp incisors in the front of the mouth.