Maximus, exceptional authentic dinosaur skeleton Thescelosaurus Neglectus, Hell Creek Formation, South Dakota, Upper Cretaceous (70 million years, Maastrichtian), length 299 cm, h. 99 cm
The Thescelosaurus is described as a small ornithopod dinosaur. The origin of the name "Ornithopoda" is explained by the similarity between the dinosaur legs of this suborder and those of modern birds. Indeed, "Ornithopoda" literally means "bird's feet".
This small dinosaur lived in North America during the Upper Cretaceous and was therefore one of the last dinosaurs to have walked the Earth before the Cretaceous Tertiary extinction. This happened 66 million years ago when a gigantic meteor crashed in to earth’s Yucatan peninsula and put a definitive end to the reign of the dinosaurs.
Several partial skeletons of Thescelosaurus have been found and suggest that this dinosaur reached a maximum size of 4 metres in adulthood. The first partial specimen was found in 1891 in Wyoming. Unfortunately, the front of the body and the skull had disappeared through erosion. Several decades passed before more specimens were discovered.
Its strong hind legs and robust tail show that this animal was a fast and agile runner. Undoubtedly, it could change direction very suddenly with the balance of his powerful tail. It had small hand-like paws and a thin, elongated skull, equipped with very particular teeth adapted to an herbivorous diet.
The skeleton of "Maximus" was discovered last year in South Dakota, in the Hell Creek formation. His bones were discovered in an old river bed, scattered among a cluster of dinosaur skeletons including Hadrosaurus, Triceratops and even Tyrannosaurus Rex bones.
The dimensions of his bones indicate that "Maximus" was a young adult Thescelosaurus. The skeletons of small dinosaurs are easily destroyed through natural erosion. This is therefore a rare and exceptional discovery.
The quality, detail and colour of the bones are unique. The bones do not show any signs of deformation or geological compression. This specimen is also distinguished by its excellent conservation. Nearly 70%-75% of the skeleton has been unearthed and many skull parts have been discovered.
It is very rare to obtain such a high percentage of bone from the same individual. A skeleton, usually called "complete", often contains at least 50% plastic or is a combination of several different dinosaurs.