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BLM-New Mexico: Mr. Gensler – and a Bistahieversor, aka the 'Bisti Beast' – Goes to Washington


Bureau: Bureau of Land Management


Phil Gensler standing beside a Penske moving truck.

Bureau of Land Management regional paleontologist Phil Gensler recently packed a Penske truck and took off for Washington D.C. The truck was filled with the most complete specimen of large carnivorous dinosaur ever found in the state of New Mexico — and it was found on BLM-administered land in the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness Area.

Replicas of two dinosaur skulls on exhibit at the museum in New Mexico. (Bistahievesor skull at right.)

The Bistahieversor—affectionately known as the Bisti Beast—was a 30-foot tyrannosaur that roamed the Earth around 74 million years ago. It was a member of the same family as Tyrannosaurus rex, looked like a compact version of T.rex, and might have been one of its ancestors. This was an extremely rare find and is of exceptionally high scientific value. It is estimated that 40 to 60 percent of the skeleton was preserved.

Three photos of portions of Bistahieversor skeleton

The 41,170-acre wilderness area is a rolling landscape of badlands which offers some of the most unusual scenery found in the Four Corners Region. The wilderness area is composed of formations of interbedded sandstone, shale, mudstone, coal, and silt. Paleontologists have studied and researched this area for nearly a century. The Badlands feature an exposure of rocks known as the Fruitland/Kirtland Formations that represent a time near the end of the Cretaceous Period (approximately 75 to 80 million years ago). These continental sediments chronicle the time near the end of the Age of Dinosaurs. This sequence of rock formations is one of only four known in the world that record this transition and may help explain why the dinosaurs became extinct.

In 1998, the specimen was removed in two pieces after being encased in a protective plaster "jacket," each weighing nearly a ton. Because the skeleton was located in a wilderness area, it was removed by Army National Guard helicopter and deposited on a large flatbed trailer for transport to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, in Albuquerque, N.M., where is has been housed ever since.

Two photos: (1) Gensler and a museum curator packing up a replica of a Bistahieversor skull at the museum in New Mexico. (2) Gensler standing beside wall-sized illustration of a full-size Bistahieversor skeleton.

Gensler worked with Dr. Tom Williamson, the curator of paleontology at the museum and Ian Morisson of the Royal Ontario Museum, to pack the specimen for the three-day road trip to Washington, D.C., where it will be on display at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

By: BLM-New Mexico
April 17, 2014

Related Links:

BLM-New Mexico
BLM-Paleontology