Spike is on Scene!
March 10, 2012 as part of the Centennial celebration at The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science
He stands at 27 ft long, weighs in at 6 tons and has called New Mexico his home for over 75 million years. His name is Spike the Pentaceratops and a statue of this long time New Mexico resident stands at the main entrance of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science.
Pentaceratops fossils are found only in New Mexico and because he is such a distinctive part of our state the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science is honoring Spike and naming him our Celebrity for March!
On March 10, 2012 come see the Pentaceratops fossils that helped us reconstruct Spike in our new exhibition Dinosaur Century: 100 Years of Discoveries in New Mexico.
Follow the story of generations of paleontologists as they collect, name and describe new fossils of Pentaceratops from around New Mexico. Each new discovery provides a window into the world of the Cretaceous in which Spike lived.
1922---Pentaceratops is discovered
In 1921-1923 Charles Sternberg (1850-1943) went into the San Juan Basin to collect dinosaurs. Sternberg was working as a commercial fossil collector, planning to sell fossils he collected to various museums, especially the Museum of Uppsala University in Sweden, with whom he had a contract. When the money in Sweden ran out, he also sold fossils to the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.
Sternberg’s field discoveries were astounding. They included a hadrosaur skull and skeleton (bought by the Field Museum), a hadrosaur skull, ceratopsian skull and skeleton and many turtles (bought by the Uppsala Museum) and a ceratopsian skull (bought by the American Museum). No 70-year-old man has ever so successfully collected dinosaurs.
In 1923, the American Museum’s head paleontologist, Henry Fairfield Osborn (1857-1935) described the ceratiopsian skull Sternberg sent to New York as a new kind of horned dinosaur, naming it Pentaceratops sternbergii.
During the 1970s, Professor Everett H. Lindsay of the University of Arizona undertook fieldwork in the San Juan Basin of northwestern New Mexico. Several graduate students completed their thesis research as part of this work. Most of the focus was on Paleocene mammal fossils, but the University of Arizona field crews found some important Cretaceous dinosaurs as well. Most notable of their discoveries are a skull of the horned dinosaur Pentaceratops and the first known foot bones of Alamosaurus.