Prepare to be awestruck as you encounter Big Mike, the magnificent bronze statue that proudly represents MOR 555, a legendary Tyrannosaurus rex. This life-size replica of one of the most complete T. rex skeletons ever discovered will captivate you from the moment you arrive at Museum of the Rockies.
The remarkable story of Big Mike begins in 1988, when Kathy Wankel unearthed a portion of a T. rex's arm near Montana's Fort Peck Reservoir. This chance discovery led to the excavation of the Wankel T. rex by a dedicated Museum of the Rockies field crew from 1989 to 1990. The skeleton, comprising an extraordinary collection of bones, was eventually displayed at the museum.
In 2001, using a mold created directly from the original bones, the skeleton was transformed into a breathtaking bronze masterpiece by Research Casting International of Ontario, Canada. Big Mike, as it came to be known, became the world's first life-size bronze T. rex, measuring an awe-inspiring 38 feet in length, standing 15 feet tall, and weighing a staggering 10,000 pounds. The dedication of this extraordinary sculpture on October 3, 2001, serves as a tribute to the memory of Dr. Michael P. Malone, the esteemed 10th President of Montana State University.
Generously gifted to Museum of the Rockies by its National Advisory Board and cherished friends, Big Mike continues to leave a lasting impression on all who visit. While the fossil bones of the Wankel T. rex now reside at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, where it has been transformed into the Nation's T. rex and is prominently featured in the David H. Koch Hall of Fossils - Deep Time, the bronze incarnation of the Wankel T. rex stands as a testament to its awe-inspiring legacy.
During your visit, we encourage you to capture the magnificence of Big Mike in photographs and video and share them with the world. Use the hashtag #MORBigMike to join the community of Big Mike admirers and share your unforgettable experience with others. Let your snapshots serve as a lasting memory of this remarkable encounter with one of the mightiest creatures to have ever walked the Earth.