Dinosaurs, including Tyrannosaurus rex, roamed the Americas some 65 million years ago. In 1987, amateur paleontologist Stan Sacrison discovered a mystery fossil in the Hell Creek Formation near Buffalo, South Dakota. To his surprise, the discovery would be the most significant of a generation.
Specimen BHI 3033, later renamed “Stan” after its discoverer, proved to be a phenomenal T. rex skeleton. More than 30,000 hours of excavation revealed a remarkable 68-percent-complete fossil. The excavation itself required the skills and resources of the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research. It officially began in July 1992 under the lead of paleontologist and Black Hills President Pete Larson.
Pete and his team removed the rock above Stan's skeleton with a Bobcat and then used picks and brushes for the finer work. The team plotted and diagrammed the fossil with the help of a grid placed over the dig site. The bones were then wrapped in burlap and plaster and brought to the Black Hills Institute.
Thirty years after Stan’s excavation, the installation of RVA Stan was led by none other than Pete Larson!
The centerpiece of Great Minds new headquarters location, what we call our "House of Learning," this scientific reproduction of Sacrisoin's find is now on display and available for group tours.
Great Minds Richmond headquarters is slated to open in early summer 2021.
A complete T. rex has approximately 300 bones, The original Stan has 205 (68% complete). Stan's skull is comprised 61 of the bones, 20 of which are for the braincase.
RVA Stan is 40 ft. long, 14 ft. tall, and weighs 2,700 lbs. He has 30 upper teeth and 24 lower teeth. The biggest teeth are 12 inches long, including the root (about 7 inches are exposed).
The edges of the teeth are serrated and were used to make micro-cuts in meat and to puncture and break bones.
Assembling a replica takes the Black Hills Institute a few hours to complete, and a typical site installs in about a day.