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  September 2nd, 2016 | Written by

T. Rex Flew KLM Chicago to Amsterdam

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  • Naturalis is the first museum outside North America to own and exhibit a T. rex.
  • T. rex was trucked from South Dakota to Chicago, then flown to Amsterdam.
  • Everyone wants to look the fierce predator Tyrannosaurus rex in the eye.

A 66 million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex fossil flew from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to the Netherlands on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flight 612 last week.

More than 250 passengers shared their flight with the well-preserved dinosaur fossil. The T. rex was excavated in Montana by the Dutch museum, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, in 2013 in cooperation with the Black Hills Institute of Hill City, South Dakota. The T. rex will be exhibited at Naturalis in Leiden, the Netherlands. This historic find will make Naturalis the first museum outside North America to own and exhibit a T. rex.

Private and public support in the Netherlands helped enable the arrival of the T. rex in Leiden. Many people spontaneously suggested the name Trix for the grand old lady. From September 10 until June 5, 2017, Trix will reside at Naturalis in the exhibition, “T. rex in Town.” At the end of 2018, she will have a place of honor in the dinosaur hall of the new museum in Leiden.

Trix is a unique find. With almost 80 percent of bone volume found and exquisite, non-deformed bone quality, she ranks in the top three of best T. rex skeletons in the world. “When we started the search for T. rex, I could not have imagined us finding such a remarkable and distinctive individual,” said Dr. Anne Schulp, head of T. rex research at Naturalis.

Trix’s original skull is mounted on the skeleton, as well, which is also a first in the world. The skeleton measures 41 feet from nose to tail and 13 feet from the hip down.

“If there is one dinosaur that everyone wants to look in the eye, it is the fierce predator Tyrannosaurus rex,” said Naturalis director Edwin van Huis. “It is my dream coming true that our T. rex Trix is in Leiden to inspire both scientists and museum visitors.”

“It is a big honor for us to be part of this T. rex experience, and give our passengers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fly with a T. rex,” said Marcel de Nooijer, executive vice president of KLM Cargo. “We transported Trix from Hill City, South Dakota, via truck to Chicago, and used the utmost care in flying her to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.”

“After three years of exciting and hard work, collecting, preparing and mounting her skeleton, we wish bon voyage to this international scientific ambassador,” said Peter Larson, President of the Black Hills Institute for Geological Research.