By Jamie Leary

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (CBS4) – It’s likely no one noticed more how Colorado’s spring 2019 snow quickly turned to summer weather than the paleontologists and volunteers from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

(credit: CBS)

A construction worker with Brinkman Construction spotted what he believed was a dinosaur bone at the Windcrest Retirement Community in Highlands Ranch.

Turns out, he was right.

That’s when the museum’s Chief Fossil Preparator Natalie Toth put together a team and began a dig she thought would last a couple of weeks. What she didn’t count on was the amount of water at the site.

“We have water coming from the earth, we have water coming from the sky,” Toth said. “it has made things so challenging.”

Natalie Toth

Natalie Toth (credit: CBS)

That site turned out to be located in a natural aquifer, requiring Toth and her team to learn some new skills like water mitigation.

The same man who discovered the first fossil, George Lane, proved indispensable in setting up a sump pump system to move water away the bones.

It also made it difficult to identify bones at the scene, but finally enough were gathered for Toth to determine they had found an adult triceratops.

(credit: CBS)

The team found about 30 percent of the dinosaur, but after eight long weeks through rain and mud plus some sweltering days, the dig came to an end.

It might have been one of her more challenging digs but for Toth it was worth every moment.

“What an amazing opportunity to get Denver and the state of Colorado so excited about finding fossils locally,” she said.

(credit: CBS)

Jamie Leary

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