Science News

National Guard Deploys Black Hawks To Airlift Rare Baby Dinosaur Fossil

Black Hawk Helicopter

On Thursday, the New Mexico National Guard deployed UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters to transport the never-before-seen fossilized remains of a baby dinosaur that died while it was a teenager.

The remains of the young plant-eating dinosaur, a Pentaceratops, were first discovered back in 2011 by paleontologists with the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science who came across the fossils while trekking through the badlands of northwestern New Mexico’s Bisti Wilderness, The Telegraph reported.

In addition to discovering the young dinosaur’s remains, the paleontologists also found those of an adult within close proximity to the youngster.

According to the museum’s paleontologists, the ancient baby dinosaur bones are the first fossilized remains of an adolescent Pentaceratops ever discovered.

CNN reports that the bones, which were discovered on federal land, were found in a location which prohibits the use of vehicles. Subsequently, the National Guard deployed its Black Hawks to transport the fossils part of the way to Albuquerque.

Spencer Lucas, the museum’s curator, indicated that in addition to a lack of vehicles, the excavation also lacked mechanized equipment for the same reason – as neither were allowed to be used in the rural area.

The choppers dropped the fossils onto the backs of flatbed trucks, which were then used to haul the remains the rest of the way to the museum.

The museum indicated on its Facebook page that the fossils had successfully made their way home.

The Pentaceratops have made it home.

While the fossils have made it home, the mission was not entirely a success as muddy conditions prevented the transport of the final plaster jacket containing what’s left of the baby dinosaur’s skeletal remains.

At some point early in the month, the fossils are scheduled to be put on display.

The adult Pentaceratops discovered nearby had its plaster-encased skull hauled away by the National Guard — who said that their choppers strained to lift the more than two-ton skull.

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