After more than 110 million years buried in stone, Canada’s paleontologists have unveiled an impeccably preserved dragon-like dinosaur, unlike anything they’ve seen before.
Researchers say the fossil is remarkable, that it is a unique nodosaur species, and the oldest dinosaur ever found in Alberta. Its preserved skin and intestinal contents also provide valuable insights into these extinct creatures.
When this dinosaur was alive, it was an enormous four-legged herbivore, protected by a plate-bristled armor weighing about 3,000 pounds.
“I call this the Rosetta stone for armor,” said Donald Henderson, curator of dinosaurs at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, National Geographic.
Although the nodosaur dinosaur mummy was so well preserved, its entry into its present form of presentation was still a daunting task. In fact, the creature was first discovered in 2011 when a worker in a crude oil mine discovered the specimen by accident while working.
Since that privileged moment, researchers have spent 7,000 hours over the last six years testing the remains and preparing them for an exhibition at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, where visitors now have the chance to see what’s happening more closely, dinosaur life that the world has probably never seen.
“Believe it or not, one of the benefits of this product is that it allows you to prepare the preparation a little faster,” says Darren Tanke, Paleo technician at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.
“This is restorable. Everything broke cleanly and in big pieces, “he adds. “It’s unfortunate that it happened but it’s repairable.”