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College student digs up 65 million-year-old Triceratops skull

HELL CREEK FORMATION, N.D. — A college student at the University of California Merced made the discovery of a lifetime when he unearthed a 65 million-year-old Triceratops skull in the Badlands of North Dakota during a planned excavation in June, the university said Wednesday.

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Harrison Duran, 23, a fifth-year biology student, has loved dinosaurs since he was a child, the Merced Sun-Star reported, so it seemed almost magical when he uncovered the giant skull at the famous dinosaur fossil site called Hell Creek Formation.

"I can't quite express my excitement in that moment when we uncovered the skull," Duran said in a statement from the university.

“I’ve been obsessed with dinosaurs since I was a kid, so it was a pretty big deal,” he said.

He made the discovery with Michael Kjelland, a biology professor at Mayville State University in North Dakota.

They named the skull Alice, according to the university, after spending a full week digging it out of its longtime resting place.

They plan to create a replica of the skull and Duran hopes to eventually display it at Merced.

“It would be amazing for UC Merced to be able to display Alice on campus,” he said.

“It’s such a rare opportunity to showcase something like this, and I’d like to share it with the campus community.”