FedEx delivered 16 crates of fossils from the Wankel Tyrannosaurus rex, and the bones will be in the public view while it’s being worked on by scientists and staff at the museum until Oct. 15. At that point, the T. rex will be shipped to Toronto, where a mount will be made to hold the large reptile in the center of the dinosaur hall of the museum.
The dinosaur hall will close for five years April 27 in order to complete its $48 million renovation. A temporary exhibit will be on display later this year, according to CBS Local.
According to a press release from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, this renovation is considered the “largest, most extensive exhibition renovation in the museum’s history,” with the new dinosaur and fossil hall coming in at 31,000 square-feet.
The hall will be named after David H. Koch, philanthropist and executive vice president of Koch Industries Inc., because of his $35 million donation which contributed to the $48 million cost of the exhibition. This donation is another first, the “single largest gift in the history of the Natural History Museum.”
Rancher Kathy Wankel, who the dinosaur is named after, found the bones in 1988 in a location known as Hell Creek Formation, BBC reported. The Washington Post reported that this area is owned by the Army Corps of Engineers; thus, the dinosaur is on loan to the Natural History museum through that organization.
Officials are calling this T. rex from the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana, the “Nation’s T. rex.” The dinosaur will replace the replica that’s been on display since 1999.
Matthew Carrano, the museum’s curator of dinosauria, told BBC that seeing a “nearly complete T-Rex” is a once-in-a-lifetime event for him. The dinosaur is the most complete dinosaur ever discovered with 80 to 85 percent of the skeleton recovered, according to the Smithsonian press release.
Paleontology curator Han Sues said people will see this as the dinosaur of all dinosaurs.
“In some ways, I think of it as the most American of all dinosaurs: this big, huge animal that was dominating its ecosystem,” Sues said to CBS Local.