Did you know that New Mexico was home to ferocious meat-eaters, including T. rex and the uniquely New Mexican “Bisti Beast?
In 1983, a group of boaters at Elephant Butte Reservoir in Sierra County landed on the eastern shore of the lake. To their surprise, two of them, Donald Staton and Joe LaPoint, residents of Las Cruces, found there a huge fossil jaw fragment with large, conical, pointed and serrated teeth, some as large as bananas, of a meat-eating dinosaur.
They brought their discovery to David Gillette, then Curator of Paleontology at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History in Albuquerque. Gillette recognized that the jaw belonged to Tyrannosaurus rex. He teamed with then NM Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources paleontologist Donald Wolberg and NM Tech graduate student Adrian Hunt to describe the fossil in 1986. This was the first definite discovery of Tyrannosaurus rex in New Mexico, and the jaw has been on display at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science since 1988.
In 1983, the footprints of a Tyrannosaurus rex were discovered in northeastern New Mexico. U. S. Geological Survey geologist Charles W. Pillmore (1930-2003) knew more about the coal geology of the Raton Basin of northeastern New Mexico than any other geologist. During his years of fieldwork in that area, Pillmore discovered many things, including huge dinosaur footprints on the Philmont Boy Scout Ranch.
World-famous dinosaur footprint expert Martin G. Lockley, and his then associate at the University of Colorado, Adrian Hunt, recognized these tracks as some of the few authentic footprints of a very rare dinosaur—Tyrannosaurus rex. In 1991, Lockley and Hunt described the footprints, naming them Tyrannosauripus pillmorei in honor of their discoverer.
In 1997, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science research associate Paul Sealey searched the Bisti/De-na-zin Wilderness area of northwestern New Mexico for dinosaur fossils. Here he made one of New Mexico’s most sensational dinosaur discoveries---the skull, lower jaw and part of the skeleton of a huge, meat-eating tyrannosaurid. Dubbed the “Bisti beast,” it took help from a U. S. Army helicopter to extract the fossil from the remote badlands. In 2010, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science paleontologist Thomas Williamson and Carthage College paleontologist Thomas Carr gave the name Bistahiaversor sealeyi to the beast. It has been on display at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science since 2003.
See it all as part of Dinosaur Century – only at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science.