Watch CBS News

13 Months Later, Thornton Opens Public Safety Building After Dino Discovery

By Stan Bush

THORNTON, Colo. (CBS4) - The City of Thornton has officially opened a new police and fire substation that had fascinated the scientific world for more than a year. In August of 2017, a construction crew uncovered dinosaur bones while laying concrete pillars for the building's foundation.

THORNTON TOROSAURUS 10PKG.transfer_frame_1991
(credit: CBS)

Instead, for plow through the discovery, the crew from Saunders Construction worked around the area to allow paleontologists from the Denver Museum of Nature & Science to excavate the skeleton.

THORNTON TOROSAURUS 10PKG.transfer_frame_791
(credit: CBS)

"Scientifically, to be able to say 'We uncovered this dinosaur in our backyard' is incredible," said Gabriela Chavarria, Chief Curator at DMNS. "It's just been a remarkable journey for the museum and our volunteers."

THORNTON TOROSAURUS 10PKG.transfer_frame_821
Torosaurus (credit: CBS)

Paleontologists realized after the dig what they had found was a Torosaurus, a distant cousin of Triceratops. The discovery could disprove some long held beliefs about the Triceratops and Torosaurus. A full report on the find is expected in the next two years.

THORNTON TOROSAURUS 10PKG.transfer_frame_731
CBS4's Stan Bush interviews Dan Wagner. (credit: CBS)

"I kind of always pictured what it would be like in my mind, but to see it like this is really cool," said Dan Wagner, a Terracon Construction soil analyst who made the discovery.

THORNTON TOROSAURUS 10PKG.transfer_frame_971
(credit: CBS)
THORNTON TOROSAURUS 10PKG.transfer_frame_341
(credit: CBS)

The City of Thornton named their new substation the Fossil Ridge Public Safety Building, and the DMNS donated bone casts of the original discovery, which can be found in the lobby under glass beneath the floor, roughly in the exact place where the bones were originally found.

Stan Bush is a general assignment reporter at CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 10. Read his bio and follow him on Twitter @StanBushTV.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.