The National Museum of Natural History made an announcement, which fulfilled its' 50-year loan agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to transfer a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton to the Smithsonian for display in the new dinosaur exhibition in Prehistoric Hall.
“For more than 200 years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has served the American people as stewards of our abundant natural resources,” said Brig. Gen. Anthony Funkhouser.
“We are excited to be a part of this partnership to bring such a remarkable T. rex specimen to our nation’s capital for millions of people to enjoy and for Smithsonian scientists to study.”
In 1988, Kathy Wankel, a rancher from Angela, Montana, discovered T. rex fossils on federal land by Fort Peck Reservoir in eastern Montana.
The T. rex skeleton will be the centerpiece of the museum’s new 31,000-square-foot national fossil hall, which will open in 2019. This Montana skeleton is the most complete T. rex specimen ever discovered, 85 percent of the skeleton plus a complete skull.
“We are thrilled to welcome this extraordinary T. rex fossil to the Smithsonian,” said Kirk Johnson, the Sant Director of the National Museum of Natural History.
“We wish to extend our sincere appreciation to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Museum of the Rockies, the State of Montana and the Wankel family for all they have done to make this possible. With the arrival of the Wankel T. rex, our museum visitors will be able to marvel at one of the finest dinosaur specimens in the world.”
Only a very few rare nearly complete skeletons of T. rex are displayed anywhere in the world, and the Wankel T. rex is the most studied among them. As the most complete and preserved specimen, it will sanction new research, which plans are made to be a centerpiece in the future dinosaur exhibition
The new fossil hall represents the most extensive renovation in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum’s history and finally offers an opportunity to finally display the museum’s extraordinary collection of 46 million fossils from the museum’s latest scientific research in paleontology.
The fossil hall will have the most up-to-date scientific research on earth concerning the nature of life in the past, present and future. This massive hall is made possible in part through the largest single gift in the history of the museum, a $35 million donation from philanthropist David H. Koch.