The ‘Mona Lisa’ of Dinosaur Fossils Has Arrived at Melbourne Museum

The complete triceratops skeleton on display at Melbourne Museum.
Photo: Eugene Hyland

It took a crack team of Australia’s leading palaeontologists nearly three months to assemble all 266 bones, but it’s finally here! From Saturday 12 March, Australians will be able to get up close to the world’s most complete and finely preserved triceratops skeleton.

Weighing in at nearly 1,000kg and nicknamed ‘Horridus’, the dinosaur will be the centrepiece of Melbourne Museum’s new ‘Triceratops: Fate of the Dinosaurs’ exhibition. The museum has spared no expense – going all in with digital wizardry, moody soundscapes, and interactive displays to transport punters back 67-million years to the Cretaceous period.

Highlights include a tactile display where visitors can touch replicas of the triceratops’ brain and horns, a preserved imprint of dinosaur skin, and a rainbow-hued room celebrating the diversity and sounds of Australia’s modern birds⁠—survivors and long-distance relatives from the age of dinosaurs.

The complete triceratops skeleton on display at Melbourne Museum and the surrounding exhibit.
Photo: Eugene Hyland

Comparing Horridus to the Mona Lisa of dinosaur fossils, Museum Victoria’s Dr Erich Fitzgerald, Senior Curator of Vertebrate Palaeontology, says the fossil ‘represents the most up to date and cutting-edge articulation of triceratops and is providing scientists around the world with critical insights not only about this species, but also one of the pivotal moments in Earth’s history.’

The triceratops is still a relatively recent discovery, only unearthed in 2014 on private property in Montana, USA. The dinosaur spent time in Canada before being painstakingly packaged in eight crates, some the size of a car, and flown to Melbourne, in a remarkable feat of air travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tickets to ‘Triceratops: Fate of the Dinosaurs’ will be free with Museum entry, but pre-booked timed slots are required in advance. The exhibition has no end date, with Horridus now a permanent part of the Melbourne collection. Book here.

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