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Colorado Student Discovers Historic Tyrannosaurus Rex Tooth

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) - Eighth grader Jonathan Charpentier is the newest dinosaur discoverer for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. He found a Tyrannosaurus rex tooth while out on a hike in southeast Boulder County.

"I never expected anything like that," Charpentier told CBS4. "It was shiny, and it caught my eye, so I picked it up, but I had no clue that it would be a dinosaur tooth. When I got home and washed it off, then I knew it was not a rock, but something else."

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(credit: CBS)

Charpentier turned the tooth over to DMNS dinosaur curator Joe Sertich.

"I couldn't believe it at first, I thought, 'There's no way it could be something that interesting', but something that I felt said, 'Send an email to the museum and see if they say anything about it,'" Charpentier said.

Sertich says Colorado is prime T-Rex territory.

"Based on the area where this tooth came out it's what we call the 'Laramie Formation' which is between about 68 million and 68 and a half million year sold, so it's about 2 and a half million years before dinosaurs went extinct," said Sertich. "This is one of the last dinosaurs that lived here in Colorado."

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(credit: CBS)

Charpentier's discovery means a bigger dig for more dinosaur bones.

"It's probably going to kick off a lot of new research, so we're going to go back out to this area, maybe with Jonathan, and we're going to collect more bones and hopefully there's more of a T-Rex out there waiting for us to dig it up," Sertich said.

Now a part of undigging Colorado's history, Charpentier has some advice for other people who like to get outdoors.

"Be on the lookout for these things, because you can really find them anywhere," Charpentier said.

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