A preliminary report on a new specimen of Tyrannosaurus rex named 'Barbara'

Read the documentation and reconstruction of Barbara on this page, and access the full report here


The skeleton of ‘Barbara’ was conserved, prepared, and reconstructed by the notable Dr. Rolf Kriegerbarthold of Kriegerbarthold Paleontology (Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz, Germany). He has ample experience preparing and mounting invertebrate and vertebrate fossils with state-of-the-art methods.

Dr. Kriegerbarthold has more than 30 years of dinosaur preparatory experience and is a member of “VdP”, the German Preparator’s Association. Rolf invented numerous preparation techniques with a focus on preparing and preserving the finest petrified specimens.

From 2004 to 2013, Dr. Kriegerbarthold was responsible for the preparation of museum class specimens which included internal and external work on several dinosaurs, including two very complete tyrannosaur specimens.

‘Barbara’s’ bones are mounted on an elegant and unobtrusive metal framework that allows easy access to the individual elements. Incomplete elements are being combined with a cast of the Tyrannosaurus rex ‘Stan’ (BHI 3033), with adaptations made to the casts to match the different proportions of ‘Barbara’.

The casts are painted to match to color and patterns of ‘Barbara’, so that the viewer can see the skeleton as a whole, without distracting color aberrations. The pose of the mount shows the animal in rapid motion, turning slightly, but without the common exaggerations of a wide-open mouth and unrealistically high lift of the head. Instead, a realistic anatomically correct pose was chosen, with the skull tilted down and the curvature of the vertebral column following the natural bend dictated by the rapid walk the animal is performing.

Dr. Kreigerbathold has mounted ‘Barbara’ with a singular metal rod underneath the vertebral column, which is the style in which most Tyrannosaurus rex specimens are mounted.

Sharing the science

We’re pleased to be able to share Preliminary Scientific Reports to help visitors who come to see these incredible T. rex understand more about them.

These reports are prepared by two of the world’s top therapod paleontologists, Dr David Burnham (University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum) and Dr John Nudds (Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester), who have studied both Peter and Barbara in their university laboratories for many months. Their research has identified the unique pathologies of each specimen, such as the injury to Barbara’s leg and the marks on Peter’s leg. As these reports are preliminary, they’re not peer-reviewed yet.

It’s not standard practice for a museum to share this much information when a specimen is being exhibited for the first time, but with the benefactor’s agreement we’re keen to share the initial findings, to enhance the learning experiences that having these two specimens in our Museum provides for the people of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Updates to the Preliminary Scientific Reports will be an ongoing process and will most likely span decades, rather than years.