Wankel T. Rex Prepares For Smithsonian Departure - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Wankel T. Rex Prepares For Smithsonian Departure

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Cowles Montana reporter Brittany Wright reports a well-known Montana fossil is getting ready to head to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. this week.

The transfer is part of a 50-year loan between the Museum of the Rockies and the Smithsonian.

Bone after bone of the Wankel T. Rex was looked over on Tuesday at the Museum of the Rockies.

A condition report is being completed on the fossil before it is transported to the Smithsonian.

The form documents each element and grades its condition and completeness.

"We are taking a snap shot in time of what this specimen currently looks like and what each element currently looks like," said Cathy Van Arsdale with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The arm of the Wankel T. Rex was discovered by Kathy Wankel in 1988 and brought to the Museum of the Rockies in 1990.

The 80 percent complete T. rex was on display at the museum from 2005 to 2012. The fossil was then packed up in 16 crates.

"I am surprised at how complete this specimen is," said Van Arsdale.

The stability, both chemically and physically of the bones is also being looked at.

"I'm looking to see if the previous treatments are still holding up as far as any adhesives that have been applied or any reconstruction of the bone that has been done," said Becky Kaczkowski, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

Experts will continue to examine the fossil on Wednesday to make sure that nothing happens to it while it is being transported.

The fossil will leave Bozeman this Friday and is expected to arrive in Washington next Tuesday. A send off parade will take place on Friday at 1:30 p.m.