The Amazing Dinosaur Found (Accidentally) by Miners in Canada

The Amazing Dinosaur Found (Accidentally) by Miners in Canada

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The Amazing Dinosaur Found (Accidentally) by Miners in Canada

The GIANT mummified dinosaur corpse discovered in Canada seems to have come straight from the Jurassic Park.

The 110 million-year-old fossil, discovered perfectly preserved with its scaly armour and guts still intact, has been touted as the “best-preserved dinosaur on Earth”

The remarkable fossilised nodosaur, now sitting in the Tyrrell Museum in Canada, was stumbled upon by miners in 2011.

The enormous plant-eating beast was 18ft long and weighed as much as a small car. It’s believed the huge beast drowned when it was swept out to sea during heavy flooding.

Scientists are baffled as to how it stay so well preserved for so long. The remains have been dubbed a genuine “dinosaur mummy”.

Royal Tyrrell Museum technician Mark Mitchell slowly frees the nodosaur’s foot and scaly footpad from the surrounding rock. Mitchell’s careful work will preserve for years to come the animal’s enigmatic features.

The dinosaur is so well preserved that it “might have been walking around a couple of weeks ago,” Jakob Vinther, a scientist from the University of Bristol, told National Geographic in 2017. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Caleb Brown, a researcher at Tyrrell Museum, added: “We don’t just have a skeleton. We have a dinosaur as it would have been.”

National Geographic published the first pictures of the ancient species in May 2017. A Canadian heavy equipment operator discovered the stunning fossilised remains at a mine in Alberta, Western Canada.

It was then carefully dug out of the ground and handed over to scientists, who painstakingly exposed the beast’s remains.

A cluster of pebble-like masses may be remnants of the nodosaur’s last meal.

It was so pristine that scientists were able to study remnants of the skin that covered its bumpy armour plates.

Analysis of other fossils has shown that most dinosaurs had scaly skin, although some species including the vicious Velociraptor, made famous in Jurassic Park, are believed to have sported feathers.

The 1.4-ton, plant-eating nodosaur is believed to have walked the Earth between 110 million and 112 million years ago.

Two 20-inch-long spikes stuck out of its shoulder, allowing it to defend itself against predators.

During its burial at sea, the nodosaur settled onto its back, pressing the dinosaur’s skeleton into the armor and embossing it with the outlines of some bones. One ripple in the armor traces the animal’s right shoulder blade.

Although it’s not clear whether the size of these spikes affected the beast’s attractiveness to the opposite sex, it’s thought that the combo of armour and barb was a key part of its mating ritual.

“This armour was clearly providing protection, but those elaborated horns on the front of its body would have been almost like a billboard,” Dr Vinther said.

Chemical tests have revealed traces of the dinosaur’s pigment, leading scientists to suggest it was a reddish colour with lighter horns.

The monster’s armour and natural weapons would have served the dual purpose of scaring enemies and attracting mates.

It may have used its spikes during battles to win the affection of a member of the opposite sex.

Normally, dinosaurs’ armour is ruined during the process of decay and fossilisation.

A lucky break in the nodosaur’s left shoulder spike reveals a cross-section of its bony core. The spike’s tip was sheathed in keratin, the same material that’s in human fingernails.

But the nodosaur’s bony plates and the scales between them have remained relatively intact.

Sheaths made of keratin – the substance human fingernails are made from – still coat the plates, which are called osteoderms.

These sheaths made the dinosaur look more scary and imposing by exaggerating the extent of its armour.

“I’ve been calling this one the Rosetta stone for armour,” added Donald Henderson, curator of dinosaurs at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

Shielded from Decayarmored dinosaurs’ trademark plates usually scattered early in decay, a fate that didn’t befall this nodosaur. The remarkably preserved armor will deepen scientists’ understanding of what nodosaurs looked like and how they moved.

The body of the nodosaur is thought to have washed up in a river, before being swept out to sea where its sunk into the mud.

Here it was encased in minerals which allowed its shape to be preserved whilst layers of rock covered it over millions of years.

Now, the fossilised dinosaur is on display at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, so punters can decide for themselves whether this scaly beast’s spikes and armour made it a lover – or a fighter.

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P. Natasha Covers Classical Archaeology news and has been with Histecho since 2017. She has a Master's degree in MA Archaeology from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting program. A California native, she also holds a Bachelor of science in molecular biology and a Master of Science in biology from the University of California, San Diego.

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