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Meet Tinker, the New T. Rex Skeleton at The Discovery Center


She’s 30 feet tall, 66 million years old, and now has a new home. Casts and some original bones of Tinker, an adolescent T. rex discovered in South Dakota in 1997, officially became part of a display at the Discovery Center at a reception held there on Nov. 21.

“The skeleton was about 50% complete when discovered, and the skull and spine and most of the ribs are Tinker,” said Discovery Center Education Director Emily Mahon. “The rest is pulled together and cast from similar-sized dinosaurs. It’s very rare to find a whole one.”

The 1,000-square-foot exhibit also includes two cases of fossils complete with T-rex eggs, and hands-on displays that explore different stem topics. There will also be a replica of the skull of Harley, an adult T. rex discovered in Montana in the 1960s.

Tinker was discovered next to the remains of another full-grown T-rex, a partial Hadrosaurus skeleton and the teeth of a Nanotyrannus—a smaller genus of the Tyrannosaurus; and careful observers will notice that Tinker’s bones show signs of battle damage.

“There are some really cool things to look for. The calcification of some of the rib bones show that Tinker got into a major fight at some point, and quite a few of them were broken and healed over time,” Mahon said. “Another thing to look for is the difference in some of the fossils. The pieces that were from the original find are rougher and have scratches, while the others are smoother. There’s a lot to learn from this exhibit.”

The Discovery Center is open Monday-Saturday, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and on Sundays from noon-5 p.m. Admission is $14 for adults, $13 for seniors, $12 for children from 2-17, and free for children under 2 years old. Tinker will be on display through 2020.