Image: fossilized skin of a duckbilled hadrosaur
National Geographic Society  /  AP
This photo provided by the National Geographic Society shows the scale of the fossilized skin of a duckbilled hadrosaur found in 1999 in North Dakota. Soft parts of dead animals normally decompose rapidly after death. Because of chemical conditions where this animal died, fossilization took place faster than the decomposition, leaving mineralized portions of the tissue.
updated 1/29/2008 12:22:22 PM ET 2008-01-29T17:22:22

Dakota the duckbilled dinosaur is coming home.

The 65-million-year-old fossilized hadrosaur found in North Dakota's Badlands a decade ago has been studied by paleontologists, had its innards scanned by NASA and starred in a National Geographic television documentary.

The dinosaur, expected to arrive Friday in a big truck, will be ready for public display in the State Historical Society of North Dakota in Bismarck in early June.

The body portion weighs 8,000 pounds, and another portion weighs 1,500 pounds, including the tail. A third part, including a leg, is much smaller.

Unlike most collections of bones found in museums, this hadrosaur came complete with fossilized skin, ligaments, tendons and possibly some internal organs, according to researchers.

"To have something that was found here in North Dakota come back here to the Heritage Center is so great to have happen," said Merl Paaverud, the center's director. "It'll be wonderful for our kids."

The dinosaur was discovered in 1999 near Marmarth by Tyler Lyson, 24, who spotted its bony tail while hiking on his uncle's ranch in the Badlands.

Lyson, then a high school sophomore, noted the location of his find but didn't come back until five years later, when he discovered the rest of the creature.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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