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My friends don’t believe me that I found a T. rex

Call it shovel-and-bucket eontology.

Three North Dakota boys have made the extraordinary discovery of a very rare Tyrannosaurus rex fossil that could change what we know about dinosaurs.

Now, the feat of young brothers Liam and Jessin Fisher and their cousin Kaiden Madsen is immortalized in a documentary narrated by “Jurassic Park” star Sir Sam Neill, known on screen as Dr. Alan Grant .

The upcoming film, titled “T. Rex” — scheduled to debut June 21 — captures the young archaeologists’ unexpected journey, which began as an ordinary hike in their home state’s Hell Creek Formation in July 2022.

Liam Fisher, 9; Kaiden Madsen, 11; and Jessin Fisher, 12. Photo by David Clark
Tyrannosaurus rex fossil could change what we know about dinosaurs. Handout

Millions of years ago, the region near Canada was an environment comparable to modern-day Florida, teeming with prehistoric turtles, fish, crocodiles and, of course, the king of the dinosaurs, among many others. other cold-blooded species.

But two years ago, while out with their father, Sam Fisher, the group thought they had discovered a common fossil of a duck-billed dinosaur, known for its distinctive head shape.

The discovery is immortalized in a documentary narrated by “Jurassic Park” star Sir Sam Neill, known on screen as Dr. Alan Grant. Sam Fisher
The upcoming film, titled “T. Rex,” is scheduled to debut on June 21. Photo by Andy Wood

“I got up on a ledge with my dad, and then he and I spotted the bones,” 9-year-old Liam told the Post. “We called Jessin and Kaiden and Jessin said, ‘It’s a dinosaur.'”

Jessin, who dreams of becoming a paleontologist and dresses as one for Halloween, played a central role in discovering the discovery. For years, he has participated in several expeditions to try to find dinosaur bones, but has never succeeded until today.

The young archaeologists’ unexpected journey began as an ordinary hike in their home state’s Hell Creek Formation in July 2022. Photo courtesy of Giant Screen Films
Jessin dreams of being a paleontologist and dresses like one for Halloween. Sam Fisher

“I had found buffalo and cow bones in the past and knew they were significantly larger,” Jessin, 12, told The Post of the discovered leg bone. “It was pretty cool.”

They first sent a photo to a family friend, Dr. Tyler Lyson, associate curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

After a year of paperwork, the group returned to the site for a much closer examination, along with the brothers’ mother, Danielle, and their sister Emalynn, 14.

The boys worked with family friend Dr. Tyler Lyson, associate curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Photo by David Clark
Millions of years ago, the region near Canada was an environment comparable to modern-day Florida.

Jessin and Lyson searched hand in hand. They first engraved the creature’s neck, jaw and teeth – essential elements in reconstructing its dated anatomy.

“Going out with the intention of finding a dinosaur fossil and your first being a T. rex? It’s, even being conservative, one in a million,” Lyson told the Post.

The entire discovery was filmed by the documentary crew, who agreed to follow along after Lyson mentioned only a few details about how the boys were digging up a dinosaur fossil.

“I got up on a ledge with my dad, and then he and I spotted the bones,” 9-year-old Liam told the Post. “We called Jessin and Kaiden and Jessin said, ‘It’s a dinosaur.'” Sam Fisher
“I had found buffalo and cow bones in the past and knew they were significantly larger,” Jessin, 12, told The Post of the discovered leg bone. “It was pretty cool.” Sam Fisher

“Never in a million years did I think we could tell the story of the discovery of a T. rex in real time,” producer Andy Wood told the Post.

Kaiden, 11, told the Post he was speechless.

“I started bawling when I saw him,” mom Danielle, whose family lives south of Marmarth, told the Post. She admitted that when everyone was coming home a year ago, her attitude was, “Yeah, okay, whatever.” »

Not only did they make a discovery that was 67 million years old, but the specimen was a unique juvenile T. rex.

“Never in a million years did I think we could tell the story of the discovery of a T. rex in real time,” producer Andy Wood told the Post. Photo courtesy of Giant Screen Films
“Going out with the intention of finding a dinosaur fossil and your first being a T. rex? It’s, even being conservative, one in a million,” Lyson told the Post. Photo courtesy of Giant Screen Films

“If we want to understand how quickly a T. rex grew from a small, chick-sized animal to an 8,000-pound monster, we need juveniles,” Lyson said.

“This will be an important fossil that will help us determine the growth rate of T. rex and how its skeleton changed over time.”

At the end of it all, a Black Hawk helicopter — which Liam bragged about getting an exclusive tour of — carried the plaster-covered bones of the “Teen Rex” into a truck. Lyson then drove 10 hours to the Denver museum and prayed he wouldn’t “run out of gas” with the 6,000-pound payload in the trailer.

“If we want to understand how quickly a T. rex grew from a small, chick-sized animal to an 8,000-pound monster, we need juveniles,” Lyson said. Sam Fisher
“I can’t wait for my friends to see the movie,” Liam said. “They don’t believe me that I found a T. rex.” Photo by Andy Wood

Further analysis estimated that the young Rex, with a drop of 10 feet, likely weighed 3,500 pounds and was about two-thirds the size of an adult, measuring 25 feet from tail to nose.

He would have been between 13 and 15 years old.

“I can’t wait for my friends to see the movie,” Liam said. “They don’t believe me that I found a T. rex.”

New York Post

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