Skip to main content

College students discover 7-foot-long triceratops skull named Shady in South Dakota

The 3,000-pound skull has been brought back to the college campus in Missouri.

College students excavated a 7-foot-long, 3,000-pound Triceratops skull while on a dig in South Dakota's Badlands this summer, Westminster College announced

David Schmidt, an associate professor of geology and environmental science, led the group excavation dig, which included three current students and four alumni, at the Grand River National Grassland. 

"It was so exciting ... we just didn't believe it," Schmidt told Westminster College. 

On these annual excavation trips, students typically expect to find fragments of dinosaur bones and sometimes a complete bone. But this time was different. 

In 2019, a rancher found something sticking out of the ground, which Schmidt concluded was the tip of a triceratops horn. Schmidt, who has a standing permit in the area, got permission to excavate, which he and his team did in June and July of this summer. 

“As we continued to uncover more parts of the skull, I was in denial,” Schmidt told St. Louis Public Radio. “I was thinking, ‘This can't be a skull. How lucky would I be? That probably only happens to a very tiny fraction of people on this planet. Like, I can't be one of those.’”

Follow Bring Me The News on YouTube

Using pickaxes, shovels, a telehandler, a backhoe and a flatbed truck, they excavated the rare skull – they named it "Shady" after community members in the nearby town of Shadehill, South Dakota – and brought it back to campus, the school said.

Shady is now in a "secure location" until the school raises funds for restoration, which includes enlarging the entrance to the environmental science lab. 

Schmidt and a team of students will return to the Badlands next summer to dig up other bones that remain at the excavation site. 

Next Up

Rep. Tou Xiong

State lawmaker Tou Xiong apologizes after driving under the influence

The state representative was pulled over on the night of Jan. 8.

St Lukes Duluth GSV Pro

Duluth hospital requiring visitors to show vax proof, neg. test

The health care system is also tightening visitor guidelines.

ridgeview urgent care facebook

Ridgeview halting urgent care at a Twin Cities site 'until further notice'

The organization cited "growing emergency medical needs" at the facility.

polley freeborn county jail roster jan 2022 resize

Charges: MN high school counselor sexually assaulted student

The 16-year-old victim had regularly gone to him for academic help and other support, authorities say.

Proctor football

Proctor investigation: Senior charged with sexually assaulting teammate

The criminal charges come after a monthslong review of the allegations.

Screen Shot 2020-04-28 at 9.07.41 PM

Ordway will require vaccinated audience members also be boosted

If someone has not gotten a booster shot, they will have to show a negative COVID test.

Gophers basketball, Williams Arena, Gopher fans

U of M to require vaccine or negative test proof for large events

The policy doesn't go into effect until late-January.

Lauri Anne Deatherage

Man indicted for first-degree murder in ex-wife's death

He's accused of killing her days after she remarried.

Jackknifed semi I-94 Sauk Centre Jesse Grabow

Crashes, spinouts piling up as snow blankets southern MN

Snow is expected to continue throughout the day.

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, January 14

More than 11,000 cases for a second day in a row.

Related

wolf

'Rare' discovery: Wolf ate sibling's carcass, buried skull for later

This is the first time the Voyageurs Wolf Project has evidence of a wolf eating a pup from its own pack.

dinosaur glensheen (1)

Dinosaurs are taking over Glensheen Mansion in Duluth

It's part of a partnership between the Duluth Children's Museum and the historic estate.

Palisades state park

MN woman survives 80-foot fall at South Dakota state park

She fell from a cliff at the park near Sioux Falls.

south dakota

Minneapolis ad agency 'proud' of South Dakota anti-meth campaign

Broadhead says the response shows that the campaign is doing its job.