By Tom Mustin

DENVER (CBS4)– Christmas has come early at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science with its largest ever donation of dinosaur fossils.

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Some 6,000 bones have been donated to the museum by a Kentucky family. The bones date back 67 million years and feature skulls, limbs and vertebrae from a family of duck-billed dinosaurs.

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“Parts of T-Rex, parts of crocodiles. To see this quality of bones, and this many bones just blows my mind,” Dinosaur curator Dr. Joe Sertich told CBS4’s Tom Mustin.

Forty pallets and crates containing 17 tons of donated dinosaur bones discovered in eastern Wyoming.

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“To see this quality of bones, and this many bones just blows my mind,” said Sertich.
Sertich says the bones are a snapshot in time from 67 million years ago, mostly from a creature known as “Edmontonosaurus” or the duck-bill dinosaur.

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One crate contains bones from a duck-bill family that drowned in a flood. A giant tooth shows the family provided a nice meal for the ferocious T-Rex.

“We know T-Rex was eating these duck-bills soon after they died,” said Sertich.

CBS4’s Tom Mustin interviews Denver Museum of Nature and Science dinosaur curator Dr. Joe Sertich (credit: CBS)

When Mustin replied, “Kind of a bummer for the duckbill,” Sertich laughed, “Good for the T-Rex though.”

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Downstairs at the Museum, volunteers have begun the several year mission of cataloguing each bone, from arms and legs to tailbones.

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The fossils were a gift from a family of paleontologists in Kentucky, who had collected the bones over the past 20 years, and were impressed with the museum’s growing dinosaur collection.

Some visitors are already feeling the duck-bill fever.

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“Great. I really want to see the new bones,” said student Jazzlyn Orrenday.

“I’ll come and see them because they’re really cool,” said 8-year-old Martin Guerrero.

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Still cool after 67 million years. Sertich can’t wait for visitors to check out the dino-mite display.

“They’ll have that wow moment where you look at a bone bed of dinosaurs and you can sit there and pick out every little feature- T-Rex teeth and dinosaur toe.”

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The bones will be on display this Saturday at the Cherry Creek Mall. They’ll be ready for viewing at the museum during the holidays.

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Tom Mustin is CBS4’s Weekend Anchor. He has been with CBS4 since 2002, and is always looking for great story ideas. Connect with Tom on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @TomCBS4.