A biology student from the University of California was able to uncover a partial skull of a Triceratops. The remarkable discovery was made during a paleontology dig at North Dakota.

For fifth-year student Harrison Duran, discovering the remains of the horned dinosaur was a dream come true. Ever since he was little, he has been a huge fan of Earth’s early inhabitants. Even though he’s a biology student, he took a course called History of Dinosaurs to learn more about the massive animals.

“I can’t quite express my excitement in that moment when we uncovered the skull,” he said in a press release. “I’ve been obsessed with dinosaurs since I was a kid, so it was a pretty big deal.”

Duran uncovered the partial skull of a Triceratops while digging with Michael Kjelland, an excavator and professor at Maryville State University in North Dakota. He and Duran met during a biotechnology conference.

Prior to the discovery, Kjelland arranged a paleontology dig at a famous fossil site in North Dakota known as Hell Creek Formation. Although Kjelland already found a Triceratops skull there two years ago, he assumed that he and Duran were only going to uncover plant fossils in the site.

To their surprise, they encountered a partial skull of a Triceratops, which could be about 65 million years old. They named the skull Alice after the owner of the land where they made their discovery.

For now, Alice is sitting inside Kjelland’s laboratory where she will undergo various studies. Duran is expected to visit his colleague to assist with further research on Alice.

For Kjelland, he intends to tour Alice by displaying her in various locations and facilities in order to educate people about the history of dinosaurs. He noted that this would be a much better alternative than keeping the dinosaur skull in just one place.

“My vision is to have Alice rotate locations,” he said in a statement. “The goal is to use this find as an educational opportunity, not just reserve Alice in a private collection somewhere so only a handful of people can see her.”

Dinosaur skull fossil
Harrison Duran, a fifth-year biology student, discovered a Triceratops skull during a paleontology dig in North Dakota. UC Merced