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T. rex settles into new home at Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History
3-D scanning specialist Jonathan Blundell uses a hand-held scanner while making images of the fossilized metatarsal of a 65-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex during a preview of the dinosaur fossils at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History April 15, 2014 in Washington, DC. Formerly known as the Wankel T. rex, the nearly-complete dinosaur fossil was discovered in 1988 in eastern Montana and will be the centerpiece of the museum's new 31,000-square-foot fossil hall, which will open in 2019. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP.

WASHINGTON (AFP).- One of the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex specimens ever found moved into its new home in Washington on Tuesday.

Dubbed "the nation's T. rex," the skeleton was discovered in 1988 by a Montana rancher, and becomes the first at the US capital's National Museum of Natural History.

Dating back about 66 million years, it arrived in Washington by Fed Ex delivery truck after a journey of more than 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) across the United States.

The skeleton arrived at the museum in multiple pieces, neatly arranged in wooden boxes. Between 80 and 85 percent of the skeleton was recovered during excavation from 1989 to 1990.

It was then transferred to the Museum of the Rockies in Montana, before its latest journey to the US capital.

"Tyrannosaurus rex is truly the king of dinosaurs," said Kirk Johnson, acting director at the Museum of Natural History.

"We could not be more excited to welcome the nation's T. rex to Washington, so it can be enjoyed by our eight million visitors a year and serve as a gateway to the vast world of scientific discovery," Johnson said.

The T. rex, on loan for 50 years from the US Army Corps of Engineers, had been scheduled to arrive in Washington in October 2013, but those plans were canceled during the federal government shutdown.

Those hoping to see the T. rex will have to wait for the museum's new dinosaur and fossil hall, expected to open in 2019.

© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse

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