Almost 6 years after its discovery, the scientific community is still amazed by an almost perfectly preserved nodosaur specimen. This spent some 110 million years encased in stone before being unearthed in a lucky find. Now, the impeccably preserved fossil is on display part of a dinosaur exhibit at the Alberta, Canada Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology.
The Nodosaur was An Astounding, Unexpected Discovery
The museum published a news release about the exhibition in which it also offered details about this unusual dinosaur. According to it, the nodosaur was discovered back in 2011, quite by accident, in Alberta, Canada. It was unearthed in an oil sands mine by an excavator operator.
Then, paleontologists took over and started reconstructing the dinosaur. After some reported 7,000 hours and 6 years of work, the fossil is now on display and will also be in the June issue of the National Geographic magazine.
The National Geographic Society worked together with the Royal Tyrell Museum in analyzing this fossil. They determined that the nodosaur is a new genus and a new species. It is reportedly the oldest known dinosaur found in Alberta, Canada. Museum experts also point to its being the best-preserved armored dinosaur fossil found to date.
This nodosaur is believed to be some 112 million years long. It reaches 18 feet and weighs some 2,500 pounds. Fossilized skin hides most of its bones and also its skeleton. The museum presented the fossil as being “encased in intact body armor”.
Smithsonian Natural History Museum experts describe nodosaurs as being herbivore animals that walked on 4 legs. They were covered by a tank-like armor which also featured spikes, presumably used for protection.
Researchers believe that this dinosaur was possibly swept away by a river and carried out to sea, where it must have sunk. Minerals must have taken over its armor and skin, as the dinosaur spent millions of years on the ocean’s floor. This helped preserve and lead to its lifelike form.
“We don’t just have a skeleton,” said Caleb Brown. “We have a dinosaur as it would have been.” He is a postdoctoral researcher at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology.
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