Not many plumbers become known worldwide for significant fossil discoveries but self-taught paleontologist and archaeologist Harley Garbani did just that, finding skulls of the youngest-known Tyrannosaurus rex and the youngest-known Triceratops in a distinguished citizen science career.

His finds are on display at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the University of California Museum of Paleontology and other places.   Garbani was citizen science before it needed a name - a time when scientists were not primarily academics.    Mostly he liked to hunt  for fossils in the Badlands and his knowledge was based on experience.

"He didn't have any academic training in the field, and he didn't do any research," Luis Chiappe, director of the Natural History Museum's Dinosaur Institute told the LA Times.   

Harley Garbani
Harley Garbani in this 2007 photograph holds a replica of the Tyrannosaurus rex skull he found in Montana. The original fossil is on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History. Photo: Don Bartletti, Los Angeles Times / May 10, 2007

Lowell Dingus, author of "Hell Creek, Montana: America's Key to the Prehistoric Past", devoted a chapter of the book to Garbani after getting to know him while doing his dissertation fieldwork at Berkeley and said, ""He was certainly among the greatest fossil collectors that ever lived and the greatest one that I have ever known and worked with."

He died at home of natural causes.  R.I.P.