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

Read about the geological and stratigraphic setting on this page, and access the full report here


The specimen hails from the Hell Creek Formation of northeastern Montana, U.S.A. The exact location of ‘Barbara’s’ discovery is lands located in Township 14 North, Range 36 East MPM in Garfield County, Montana, USA.

This geological formation comprises sandstones, siltstones, claystone, and mudstones from ancient rivers, peat bogs, and floodplains that formed in the riverine environment (Clemens and Hartman, 2014; Nudds and Selden, 2008) during the Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian). Although other dinosaurs are found in the Hell Creek, the formation is best known as the discovery location for the holotype, or name-holder, of Tyrannosaurus rex. Moreover, because of recent discoveries, it is now known as the richest area for T. rex discoveries (Horner 2011, Marshall 2021). 

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 As these reports are preliminary, they’re not peer-reviewed yet.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.