Scientists were blown away by an incredible discovery in the oil sands of Alberta, calling it one of the best dinosaur discoveries of all time.
Scientists have just found something incredible in the northern part of the Alberta province, and specifically the huge oil sands region that used to be the bottom of an ancient sea. They’ve found a “dinosaur mummy” dating back 110 million years ago, the perfectly preserved body of a land-dwelling, plant-eating nodosaur that might have roamed the shores of this ancient body of water many eons ago.
The mummified body, likely kept preserved by minerals in the sea, was discovered back in 2011 by workers for a private company at the site, but is coming to new light after a profile in National Geographic about the discovery as it goes on display for the first time. Scientists determined that it is the best preserved specimen of its kind, with fossilized skin and even the contents of its belly preserved.
In the days when this nodosaur roamed the Earth, reptiles grew to 60 feet long and giant dinosaurs roamed the beaches of the ancient sea, making this area a great place for fossil hunters.
“In 2011, Suncor came across something a little less expected at its oil sands mining operations – a dinosaur!” Suncor, which owns the land, said in a 2015 statement. “Thanks to the sharp eye of one of our employees, Suncor made history with this amazing find. Watch as Discovery’s Daily Planet explores what it took to extract the dinosaur fossil from Suncor’s Millennium Mine and what this rare find unveils about Alberta’s pre-historic times.”
It was on the afternoon of March, 21, 2011 whena heavy equipment operator was plowing through the Earth on behalf of Suncor, an energy company, at that location. Then, his bucket struck something that was harder than the rock around it. He noticed that the thing he struck had an odd consistency to it, and so they took a closer look at it, according to the National Geographic report.
Later, experts determined that they’d found a huge nodosaur that was 18 feet long and was 3,000 pounds. The carcass had probably initially fossilized whole, but only the front half was in good enough shape to fully recover.