Weld County’s Official Fossil Being Studied for the First Time

Dr. Joe Sertich, Curator of Dinosaurs for the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, works on the plaster cast of Pops. Jerri Mapelli Gustafson and Terri Mapelli DeMoney (daughters of Roland “Sonny” Mapelli) and their families were in attendance the day Pops was transported to the museum. Photo courtesy of Weld County Office of the Board of Commissioners.

Weld County’s Official Fossil Pops the Triceratops has been transported to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science on Friday, October 16, to be studied and repaired for the next nine to twelve months.

Pops the Triceratops was discovered near Briggsdale in 1982 and was donated to the county by the landowner Roland “Sonny” Mapelli in 1986. Pops was featured in the Weld County Centennial Building from 1986 to 2011 and then in the Weld County Administration Building from 2011 to 2020.

“This is really exciting for the residents of the county,” said Commissioner Chairman Mike Freeman. “Now, with the help of the museum, we’ll be able to learn more about this impressive fossil,” Mike said.

The Denver Museum of Nature Science’s Curator of Dinosaurs, Dr. Joe Sertich, contacted Weld County in 2018. Dr. Sertich offered to have his staff clean and repair the fossil in return for allowing it to be studied. The County, the museum, and the state worked together to make sure this project would allow for the study of the fossil and the return of it to the county.

The county is reaching out to multiple community partners such as the Poudre Learning Center, the High Plains, and Clearview Library Districts, and Weld County school districts to share news and create events related to this project for all residents.

“The museum has been great to work with,” said Commissioner Freeman. “And the community is starting to get excited about the project and the updates.”


For more information regarding the Pops the Triceratops project, visit: www.discoverweld.com or follow @popsthetriceratops on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for stories and content about the fossil and Weld County’s ancient history.