Reblog: Incredibly Preserved Dinosaur Found In Canada (Fort McMurray, Alberta)

According to National Geographic – Some 110 million years ago, this armored plant-eater lumbered through what is now western Canada, until a flooded river swept it into open sea. The dinosaur’s undersea burial preserved its armor in exquisite detail. Its skull still bears tile-like plates and a gray patina of fossilized skins. …

The western Canada that this dinosaur knew was a very different world from the brutally cold, windswept plains I encountered this past autumn. In the nodosaur’s time, the area resembled today’s South Florida, with warm, humid breezes wafting through conifer forests and fern-filled meadows. It’s even possible that the nodosaur gazed out on an ocean. In the early Cretaceous, rising waters carved an inland seaway that blanketed much of what’s now Alberta, its western shore lapping against eastern British Columbia, where the nodosaur may have lived. Today those ancient seabeds lie buried under forests and rolling fields of wheat.

One unlucky day this landlubbing animal ended up dead in a river, possibly swept in by a flood. The belly-up carcass wended its way downriver—kept afloat by gases that bacteria belched into its body cavity—and eventually washed out into the seaway, scientists surmise. Winds blew the carcass eastward, and after a week or so afloat, the bloated carcass burst. The body sank back-first onto the ocean floor, kicking up soupy mud that engulfed it. Minerals infiltrated the skin and armor and cradled its back, ensuring that the dead nodosaur would keep its true-to-life form as eons’ worth of rock piled atop it…

In May the Royal Tyrrell Museum unveils the nodosaur as the centerpiece of a new exhibit of fossils recovered from Alberta’s industrial sites. Now the public is marveling at what has wowed scientists for the past six years: an ambassador from Canada’s distant past, found in a moonscape by a man with an excavator.


via Incredibly Preserved Dinosaur Found In Canada —