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Shutdown could strand Smithsonian dinosaur

Tuesday - 10/1/2013, 5:24am  ET

trex_640.jpg
The bronze cast of the T. rex, which Museum of the Rockies employees fondly call 'Big Mike,' stands outside the museum in Bozeman, Mont. (Courtesy of Museum of the Rockies)

WASHINGTON - It may not be at the top of the list of important things affected by the government shutdown, but for the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, a very special package could be delayed.

He's lean, mean and stuck in Bozeman, Mont. The fossil of a Tyrannosaurus Rex is supposed to hit the road in two weeks. But all the planning to get it safely across the country is halted due to the shutdown.

"The longer this continues, the more uncertainty there is about the arrival of the T. rex," says Randall Kremer with the Natural History Museum.

The dinosaur's fossils will eventually be the centerpiece in the museum's renovated Dinosaur Hall, expected to open 2019.

But first, it's the main attraction at National Fossil Day on Oct. 16.

"We're expecting hundreds of school-age children to arrive on the National Mall for National Fossil Day for a chance to see parts of this T. rex coming to us from Bozeman, Mont.," Kremer says.

If the event goes as scheduled, it will be open to the public and parts of the T-Rex will be on display, Kremer says.

This story has been modified to reflect a change in the year the Dinosaur Hall will open.

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