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


Diocese of Superior identifies 23 clergy members with 'substantiated' abuse

The announcement from the diocese came after a multiple reviews with external agencies.


Flu surge worsens in schools ahead of Thanksgiving holiday

Earlier this week, Minnesota hospital leaders said the number of sick children is creating a capacity crisis for the health system.


Bloomington police investigating shooting; public asked to avoid area

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.


Gallery: Modernist home on Duluth's observation hill listed for nearly $1.6M

The private hillside home offers sweeping views of the city.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for the week ending Tuesday, Nov. 22

There were more than 500 people hospitalized with COVID in Minnesota on Nov. 22.

Screen Shot 2022-11-23 at 11.09.54 AM

MPD arrests 7 while executing high-risk search warrant

Narcotics were recovered at the scene, according to MPD.

Screen Shot 2022-11-23 at 10.25.52 AM

Robbinsdale district apologizes after 3 alleged gun-related incidents

The separate incidents were reported at Sandburg Middle School and Robbinsdale Middle School.

Screen Shot 2022-11-23 at 10.43.41 AM

KSTP's Chris Egert immediately recognizes his on-air blooper

Frank Vascellaro is still the 2022 blooper of the year frontrunner.


FREE Internet: The Best Ways to Use the Federal Affordable Connectivity Program Benefit

The ACP program is making high-speed internet free to qualified individuals in Minnesota

keith ellison

Ellison seeks public feedback on Fairview-Sanford merger

The two healthcare companies announced their plans to merge earlier this month.


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.


'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.

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.


Dinosaur Drive-Thru extends its run at Mall of America parking lot

The show will stay in town another week due to "popular demand."