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Kids Hiking in Badlands National Park Discover Rare T. Rex Fossil

It’s something you see in the movies—a family is hiking when they discover something unique. And then they realize it’s something really significant, like a rare juvenile T. rex fossil. This actually happened to a family back in 2022 while hiking in South Dakota’s Badlands National Park.

Sam Fisher took his sons Liam and Jessin, 7 and 10 years old, and his 9-year-old nephew Kaiden for a hike in the Badlands. While they were on their trek, the kids discovered a fossil sticking out of a rock formation. According to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, Fisher contacted his former high school friend Tyler Lyson, who happens to be the museum’s curator of paleontology.

Dr. Lyson and a team of paleontologists (including Liam, Jessin, and Kaiden) obtained a permit and excavated the fossil last summer. Turns out, the find is one of consequence. The boys stumbled upon something incredible—a rare juvenile T. rex fossil. The Denver Museum of Nature & Science says only a handful of these have ever been found.

The museum announced this week that the fossil will be on display as part of its temporary experience “Discovering Teen Rex,” which will open to the public on June 21. The museum will also screen the remarkable story of three kids discovering a rare dinosaur fossil in a 40-minute documentary.

“By going outside and embracing their passions and the thrill of discovery, these boys have made an incredible dinosaur discovery that advances science and deepens our understanding of the natural world,” Lyson told the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

We can’t wait to see what these three young paleontologists discover next.

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