Big John would never have thought of taking a trip to Trieste. Not only because the Julian city did not yet exist, but because it was too busy defending itself from the ambushes of the tyrannosaurs of which it was a coveted and tasty prey, but dangerous to hunt, in the coastal forests and river valleys of what in the Upper Cretaceous ( between 66 and 95 million years ago) was North America. Big John was a triceratops, a dinosaur with long horns on the shield that protected his head, his fossilized bones were unearthed on a ranch in Montana and were sent to Trieste to be assembled by the specialized company Zoic. The reconstructed specimen will then go on sale at an auction in Paris in the fall.
He pi great
Big John is probably the largest triceratops ever found. His skull is 2.67 meters long and 2 meters wide. Previously the largest find belonged to a triceratops with a 2.50 meter skull kept in a Canadian museum. These dimensions led paleontologists to determine the total size of Big John: from head to tail it was 8.20 meters long, about 3 meters wide and weighed almost 12 tons. For comparison, a male African elephant 3.50 meters tall and weighs 7 tons.
The reconstruction of the dinosaur
The Trieste team has been working in recent weeks to open the containers, clean up the bones and restore the missing parts. As soon as possible we want to welcome the public into the showroom that we have specially set up to host the find, said Flavio Bacchia, manager of the Zoic company, internationally known in making professionally prepared paleontological samples available, as well as their perfect replicas and models made. in 3D.
Posture: Like the Wall Street Bull
At the moment the framework in which the entire dinosaur will be placed has been assembled, the skull is positioned and the definitive posture of the animal has been chosen, reminiscent of the sculpture of the famous Wall Street bull, of which the author recently passed away. Italian Arturo Di Modica. We are positioning the vertebrae being processed and those partially already processed, explained Bacchia. The first thing we immediately pointed out was that the first enlargement of the column that we had hypothesized was not yet sufficient: the specimen proved to be larger than our own expectations.
Both femurs were extracted and worked, the scapula, a dorsal vertebra and the coracoid, that is one of the two bones that act as a shield in place of the sternum, were identified. A section of a rib will also be prepared shortly to carry out an analysis that allows to go back to the age of Big John by an Italian scholar at Yale University: this will help even better to understand whether the nature, the dimensions and the general morphology of the animal are due to the fact that it was a very old specimen, as some elements would suggest, starting from the horn above the muzzle which is particularly short.
March 16, 2021 (change March 16, 2021 | 11:40 am)