HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (CBS4) -The land before time is closer than you think. Dinosaur fossils were discovered last week at a construction site near Wind Crest at Santa Fe Drive and C-470.

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A paleontology dig conducted by the Denver Museum of Nature and Science has since unearthed several more bones. CBS4 got an exclusive look at their progress Thursday morning.

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“We’ve uncovered a number of ribs. We found a lower leg bone, tibia, upper leg bone, humerus. We think we have parts of the dinosaur’s skull,” said Natalie Toth, chief fossil preparator.

Natalie Toth (credit: CBS)

It’s too soon to say what type of dinosaur this was, but right now the experts believe it was a horned dinosaur. It’s likely something similar to a triceratops or a torosaurus, discovered in Thornton two years ago.

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“The weathers made it really difficult to remove the fossils from the ground and expose more bone. We’re using glue in the field to stabilize the fossil, it doesn’t work so well when the fossils are wet. That’s been a huge challenge for us, keeping the bones together in these damp conditions,” explained Toth.

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Crews are using hand tools like rock hammers and pick axes to get through the sediment and expose more bone. DMNS says Brinkmann Constructors saved them a lot of time by offering to help move rock from the top.

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“We’ve been digging and trying to remove the fossils from the ground and push back more earth to expose more fossils,” explained Toth.

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The rock layer the fossils are in dates back 66-68 million years, which means these are some of the last dinosaurs to walk the earth.

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“We’re so fortunate someone said ‘Hey stop! I think I see something that looks like a bone!’” said Toth. “There’s actually a dinosaur in our backyard. It’s really great.”

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Scientists hope to begin removing the bones from the ground next week. The site is not open to the public.

Tori Mason

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