'Dinosaur Mummy' Found With Skin And Gut Contents Intact

Alain Brian
Mai 16, 2017

The specimen is by far the best fossil of a nodosaur ever found. Researchers believe the specimen died around 110 million years ago, although the cause of death is unclear.

Vinther said the fossil was so pristine that it "might have been walking around a couple of weeks ago". There, minerals started gathering over its tank-like coat, which prevented it from decomposing and helped with its preservation. The well-preserved dinosaur mummy, according to the Royal Tyrrell Museum's fossil preservator, Mark Mitchell, is expected to take paleontolgists "years or maybe decades" to fully understand it.

The specimen has not yet received a scientific description, and researchers are working on finding a name that fits the armored dinosaur. That is a rare feat, the publication explained - "as rare as winning the lottery" - because in most cases, only a handful of bones and/or teeth are preserved, and soft tissues are nearly never fossilized.

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

Heavy equipment operator Shawn Funk first came across the fossil in 2011, when he clipped something much harder than the surrounding rock.

Scientists call this dinosaur a "cross between a lizard and a lion, but covered in scales".

The nodosaur will be the central focus of a new exhibit at the Alberta Royal Tyrrell Museum, which will focus of fossils uncovered from industrial areas in the Canadian Province. "I can count the scales on its sole", writes Greshko. Usually, the plates of armor, or osteoderms, of nodosaurs get scattered about as the animal decayed after death, but with the fossilized example found in Alberta, the plates of armor were preserved.

Other exceptional finds highlighted in the exhibit include a new genus and species of a pantodont (a rare early mammal) found during road construction near Red Deer, and a mosasaur found at the Korite Mine in southern Alberta whose spectacular preservation sheds light on marine reptile behaviour. Its right forefoot lies by its side, its five digits splayed upward.

"We don't just have a skeleton", Caleb Brown, a postdoctoral researcher at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology where the fossil went on display, told the magazine. "We have a dinosaur as it would have been".

Eventually, this creature of land floated out to the sea to where it was once found and sank to the bottom.

However, if one needs to reach out to the bones of the dinosaur's it would require destroying its outer layers. The National Geographic Society funded CT scans to examine the fossil closely, but they have revealed little, as the rock remains opaque.

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