The best-preserved dinosaur ever discovered
The year of 2011 was a particularly special year for The Millenium Mine Company in Alberta, Canada. During a regular workday for the mining company a heavy equipment worker discovered what they thought at first sight to be a peculiar looking rock. The worker reported the finding when he realized this was no ordinary rock. Researchers were able to confirm that they had in fact had found one of the best preserved Nodasarus specimens in Alberta history.
Nodasaurus are a type of Ankylosaur. They were relatives of the stegosaurus and could grow to be as long as 20 foot. Their diet consisted of vegetation, as they were herbivores. These dinosaurs were equipped with armor which protected them from their predators. Research suggests that they were located in North America. There have been two species discovered at this time. This is believed to be the oldest dinosaur found in Alberta, thought to be over 100 million years old.
In the process of digging up this unimaginable fossil, there were parts of the remains that were damaged and could not be salvaged. During the process of removing the bones from the ground there was an equipment failure which caused the remains to be dropped from transport medium and broken into pieces on the ground. They were fortunate that the bones broke in a manner that allowed them to piece the fossil back together. Mark Mitchell was tasked with the important project of removing the dinosaur bones from the rocks. This process would take him more than 7,000 hours to complete.
With a 5 year sponsorship with National Geographic and thousands of hours preparation work to the fossils, they were able to determine that the animal most likely died near or in a body of water. It is believed that the remains drifted for a period of time before nesting deep into the soil.
Due to the exceptional preservation of the animal’s body, including the armored plates, scales and beautiful colorations of the skin, new information was now available to the scientists. In previous discoveries the preservation of the fossils was not nearly as fruitful to research because most of the other fossils no longer had the platejustification_textes or scales intact. This spectacular mummification allowed the scientists to reach a deeper understanding of the appearance of the dinosaur. They could even provide theories on the size and shape of the Nodasarus defenses. Scientists believe that the skins colorations and tremendous spikes of the Nodasarus would help this species attract potential mates and scare off challengers.
Although the bones are not visible, the skin and armor of this fossil were so impeccable that this may be the best-preserved specimen to date. The public is able to view this spectacular creature in an justification_texteexhibit located at the Museum of Royal Tyrrell Museum. Interactive 3D models of the Nodasarus are also available.
Discoveries like this one are extremely valuable as they highlight the importance of continued cooperation and teamwork among digging teams, corporations and paleontologists.