It all started when Terris was doing some paleontology fieldwork for a class back in 2009 at the Raymond M. Alf Museum. (Via NBC)
He and his classmates were searching for fossils when he saw a small piece of silver bone sticking out from under a boulder.
He informed Andrew Farke, one of the paleontologists supervising the students. He said it looked like a piece of dino rib — which apparently wasn’t all that great of a find. (Via YouTube / TheWebbSchools)
Farke walked around the other side of the boulder and picked up what he thought was a piece of rock. But upon closer examination, he discovered it was a dinosaur skull. (Via YouTube / AlfMuseumPaleo)
Because Farke found the skull so close to Terris’ first find, he decided to check out the piece of bone again. Turns out the high schooler had located a string of toe bones.
Terris told scientists, “At first I was interested in seeing what the initial piece of bone sticking out of the rock was. When we exposed the skull, I was ecstatic!” (Via National Journal)
Farke knew there was a pretty good chance the rest of the dino’s skeleton was buried between the skull and the toes — and a years-long excavation process was soon underway.
The team had to get permits to excavate on public land — that took until 2010. The paleontologists then had to airlift huge rocks out of the way and clean, chisel, and pick their way to the fossil buried in all that stone.(Via Raymond M. Alf Museum)
When they were finished, the team realized they had unearthed the most complete skeleton of a baby Parasaurolophus ever found.
The dino, affectionately dubbed Joe, was already six feet long, even though scientists concluded it was barely a year old. (Via International Business Times)
After years of examining and researching the skeleton, Joe is finally set to go on display at the Alf museum starting Tuesday. As for Terris, he’s now in college studying geology.