Mountain Range H.S. Science Teacher May Have Found 'Ankylosaurid' Skull.

A Mountain Range High School science teacher with a hobby for paleontology has discovered what federal authorities said could be the first skull fragment from a rare dinosaur.

Kent Hups, a teacher at Westminster's Mountain Range High School, discovered the fossil in the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area in western Colorado.

Tests are pending, but the Bureau of Land Management said Saturday that the fragment appears to be the first from an armadillo-like dinosaur called the Ankylosaurid. The bone fragment is embedded in a rock weighing more than 100 pounds.

"It took 10 hours to get it out with a rock saw," Hups said. "It was exhausting work."

Hups digs for dinosaur fossils under a BLM paleontological use permit. The teacher has findings displayed in two Colorado science museums. In 2008, Hups found a perfectly preserved footprint of an Ankylosaurid.

"As the crow flies, this (skull) was about 1 1/2 miles from we found the print,"Hups said.

Hups said if the skull fragment is confirmed as an Ankylosaurid, it would be the first fossil of its kind from that dinosaur. However Hups is tentative to claim anything yet. He said it could take a year or longer before the specimen is properly identified.

The fossil will be brought to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science for analysis.

"We knew what kind of dinosaur it is based upon of the material we�ve pulled out before," Hups said. "We've got stuff that people have never seen before. We have stuff that is articulated, meaning it is how it was found in life.

"It is definitely something very unique and very different."

Fossil hunting brings many to western Colorado, and Grand Junction tourism officials are hoping the find sparks new interest in bone hunting.

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