The Best Preserved Dinosaur Fossil Looks Remarkably Like A Statue
Before being discovered, cleaned up, and rearranged, a dinosaur fossil would just look like a pile of rocks for the casual observer. Palaeontologists and geologists have years of experience to notice and differentiate an ordinary stone from a fossil. But this 110 million-year-old fossil belonging to a long-extinct nodosaur would not be confused by anyone, regardless of their profession. Well, they could believe it to be a statue, but that’s kinda the point here.
The fossil/statue was recently unveiled at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Canada and is the best preserved of its kind. And the way it was discovered, is as almost as interesting as the dinosaur fossil itself. The whole story was described in the June issue of National Geographic magazine.
The dinosaur fossil was discovered back in 2011 in Canada’s Millennium Mine while Shawn Funk was digging with a mechanical backhoe. When he hit something that was harder than the surrounding rock, he realised that it was actually something like nothing he’d seen before. The 2,500-pound dinosaur fossil was then shipped to the museum in Alberta.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes — it was a dinosaur,” Donald Henderson, the museum curator told Alberta Oil. “When we first saw the pictures we were convinced we were going to see another plesiosaur (a more commonly discovered marine reptile).”
The dinosaur fossil belonged to a nodosaur, a heavily armoured plant-eater from the Cretaceous period. This particular one was about 3,000 pounds and measured some 18 feet long. They were like four-legged tanks, with bone plates all along their backs.
A discovery as this one is extremely rare. The astonishingly well-preserved dinosaur fossil may be the result of an unlikely series of events that happened million of years ago. Scientists believe that this dinosaur met its end while it was by a river bank, probably drinking some water when a flash flood occurred. This water then took the poor animal out to sea where it sank to the bottom. Minerals quickly infiltrated its skin and bones, turning it into stone. Then layer upon layer of sediment packed over it for millions of years. The region where it was found, was part of the sea floor back then.
The most common of a dinosaur fossil found are either some scattered bits here and there and in some fortunate cases, a partially full skeleton. But here, on the other hand, we have an actual dinosaur as it would have looked back then – skin and all.
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