Skip to main content.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Website Search Box


The story begins 66.5 million years ago, when our Tyrannosaurus rex died near a river. Slow-moving water carried some parts away, but sediments soon covered the carcass. Time turned the sediments to stone and transformed T. rex's lush, semi-tropical home into the dry, hilly badlands of modern-day Montana.

In 1988, a rancher named Kathy Wankel spotted a bone poking out of the ground. Recognizing it as a dinosaur fossil, she brought her discovery to the Museum of the Rockies. Two years later, scientists from the Museum of the Rockies and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finished excavating the fearsome fossil predator.

On April 15, 2014, it finally arrives at the National Museum of Natural History, and will be one of the stars of our new National Fossil Hall, which opens in 2019 through the generous support of David H. Koch.

Before it can go on display, the Nation's T. rex needs special care. Over the next five years, we will be studying, conserving, and mounting its bones.

Visitors will get a sneak peak at what our team is working on that day!

museum staff scanning a fossil bone of T-rex while watching a 3D model on a computer screen.


Museum staff can be viewed preparing the Nation's T-rex and scanning fossils in 3D during Monday through Friday, 10:00am - 5:30pm.

[ TOP ]

Sign up for the latest news!