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New Dinosaur fossil discovered that is so well preserved it could be a statue!

Published: 17th May 2017

Originally discovered in 2011 this 110 million-year-old Nodosaur is the best-preserved fossil ever found of its kind. It has now been carefully examined and excavated to be unveiled to the public.

The discovery was made on March 21st, 2011 by Shawn Funk, a heavy-equipment operator in the Millennium Mine, Alberta. Little did he know at the time that the strangely coloured rocks he had come across would reveal the fossilised remains of a dinosaur preserved all the way from snout to hips. Work on the dinosaur was undertaken by Canada's Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology where it now resides and is now being unveiled for the first time.

As a species, the Nodosaur could reach 18 feet long and weigh nearly 3,000 pounds. These herbivore’s lived in the Cretaceous period and belonged to the Ankylosaur genre of dinosaurs, but nothing as intact as this Nodosaur has been discovered before.

Photograph by Robert Clark

What is so captivating about this specimen is how well preserved the dinosaur is. It looks almost like a statue. With many of its features still intact including skin, body armour, and scales. This finding helps palaeontologists learn much more about the skin, body structure and armour position, giving us a real insight and example into how these dinosaurs actually looked.

As Michael Greshko wrote (From the National Geographic), such level of preservation "is a rare as winning the lottery." He continued:

"The more I look at it, the more mind-boggling it becomes. Fossilised remnants of skin still cover the bumpy armour plates dotting the animal's skull. Its right forefoot lies by its side, its five digits splayed upward. I can count the scales on its sole.

Caleb Brown, a postdoctoral researcher at the museum, grins at my astonishment. "We don't just have a skeleton," he tells me later. "We have a dinosaur as it would have been."

Over the past five years, fossil preparers and experts have undertaken the precise and time-consuming task to uncover the dinosaur from the stone surrounding it. This month it will be unveiled for the first time as a new exhibit at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology.

You can read the full article on the discovery here: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/06/dinosaur-nodosaur-fossil-discovery/