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DMNS to study Weld County's Official fossil

Posted on 10/21/2020
Jerri and Terri Mapelli, daughters of Roland "Sonny" Mapelli who donated the fossil to Weld County, were able to see the fossil before the move to Denver.

If you’ve been to the Weld County Centennial Building (from 1986 to 2011) or the Weld County Administration Building (from 2011 to date), you’ve likely seen him…Pops the Triceratops; Weld County’s Official Fossil.

Discovered near Briggsdale in 1982 and donated to the county by the landowner, Roland “Sonny” Mapelli, in 1986, the first complete Triceratops skull found in the state is taking a field trip to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science for the next nine to 12 months for study and repair. The fossil was transported to the museum Friday, October 16.

“This is really exciting for the residents of the county,” said Commissioner Chairman Mike Freeman. “Many people aren’t aware this piece of history was discovered right here in Weld County. Now with the help of the museum, we’ll be able to learn more about this impressive fossil.”

The county was contacted by the Denver Museum of Nature Science’s Curator of Dinosaurs, Dr. Joe Sertich, in 2018. Dr. Sertich express the desire to study the fossil and offered to have his staff clean and repair it in return. Because the fossil was donated to the county with the stipulation it be on display in a county building for residents to enjoy, the county, the museum and state worked together to make sure this project would allow for both the study of fossil and the return of the fossil to the county.

“The museum has been great to work with,” said Commissioner Freeman. “And the community is starting to get excited about the project and the updates.”

The public is invited to follow along with the Pops the Triceratops project on as well as on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as stories and content about the fossil and Weld County’s ancient history will be shared during the time Pops is gone.

The county is also reaching out to various community partners such as the Poudre Learning Center, the High Plains and Clearview Library Districts and Weld County school districts to share news and develop events related to this project to as many residents as possible.