Paleontologist Andy Farke is still a little embarrassed about how it happened.
"I actually walked right by it the first time," recalls Farke.
He was with a group of high school students from The Webb Schools in Claremont, Calif., poking through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah. Their quest? Dinosaur bones.
"One of the students found a little piece of bone, sticking out of the side of the rock," according to Farke. "I said, 'Just ignore it. It doesn't look like anything that great.'"
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That student, Kevin Terris, ignored Farke's advice.
"Flipped over that loose bit of rock, found the skull and it was just, 'wow!'"
"Wow" is right. Terris and Farke had stumbled upon the fossilized remains of a very young Parasaurolophus, a plant-eating dinosaur that roamed the earth 75 million years ago.
"This skeleton is the most complete, the smallest and the youngest example of Parasaurolophus ever found," Farke said.
"Just a perfectly preserved specimen," recalled Terris. "It was just phenomenal."
At the Raymond Alf Museum in Claremont, the skeleton is now a crown jewel in an expansive collection. Curators even scanned a three-dimensional rendering of the bones, so people can view it on the museum's website.
Farke says he has regrets about walking past such a find that day in 2009, but, at least one of his students was paying attention.
An earlier version of the story stated that the student was from a Utah school, but it was later clarified that he is from a Southern California school.
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