Charlie worked periodically on the block and realized there was a skull present. Unfortunately, the Chinese chisel had gone right through it, smashing the premaxillary bone, perhaps one of the most important clues to the animal's identification. “I decided to set this specimen aside until I could show it to someone who might confirm my suspicions,” he says.

Kenneth Carpenter, of the Denver Museum of Natural History, was one of several specialists who came by to see the huge eggs. “We wanted Ken to oversee the excavation of the tiny bones, so we loaded the specimen into the trunk of his car, and he drove away with it.” Charlie visited the laboratory at the museum over the next few months as Carpenter, and a group of volunteers he gathered, removed additional rock and uncovered the baby.

In September 1995 Charlie brought the infant home from its “rebirthing” in Denver and invited Canadian paleontologist Philip Currie to visit. Currie spent two days observing, probing, and taking notes, but he reserved judgment as to the dinosaur's identity. He needed more clues, a tooth or a claw, but none were found.

Charlie and Flo hired a professional preparator, David Burnham, to help continue cleaning and highlighting bones and shell to identify the dinosaur. “We worked together with microscopes and tiny chisels,” says Charlie. “During a month of continuous, careful microscopic preparation a small handful of matrix was removed grain by grain.”

Next Page

© 1996 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved.