Student finds 65 million-year-old Triceratops skull

A dinosaur-loving college student has dug up the find of a lifetime.

Biology student, Harrison Duran, was on a palaeontology dig in southwestern North Dakota in the US when he unearthed a partial Triceratops skull.

On June 1, Mr Duran paired up with experienced excavator Professor Michael Kjelland and began a two-week search at Hell Creek Formation, a site well known for dinosaur fossils.

The two were hoping to find plant fossils and on day four of the dig, they couldn’t believe it when they realised their discovery was a lot more significant.

"I can't quite express my excitement in that moment when we uncovered the skull," Mr Duran told his college website UC Merced, on Wednesday (local time).

Harrison Duran proudly poses with his 65 million-year-old find of a partial Triceratops skull. Source: Merced

Mr Duran, 23, found the fossil upside down with the base of its left horn partially exposed and surrounded by plant fossils.

"I've been obsessed with dinosaurs since I was a kid, so it was a pretty big deal," Mr Duran said.

Once they realised what they had found, they named the dinosaur Alice, after the owner of the land.

They then started the excavation process and it took a team from the non-profit organisation, Fossil Excavations, a week to prepare the fragile skull for the big move.

“Alice was meticulously stabilised with glue, plastered up and removed from a location she called home for over 65 million years,” the Fossil Excavations website read.

Professor Michael Kjelland (left) accompanied Harrison Duran on the dig. Mr Duran has always been a dinosaur fanatic, even as a four-year-old (right). Source: Fossil Excavators/Merced

The duo will now spend the next few months researching the rare find and preparing Alice for public display.

Mr Duran hopes Alice will call UC Merced home.

"It's such a rare opportunity to showcase something like this, and I'd like to share it with the campus community," he said.

The exact location of where Alice was found will remain top secret in order to protect any further finds.

"There have been people in the past who have stolen dinosaur bones," Professor Kjelland told CNN.

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