Paleontologists find rare dinosaur 'mummy'

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Paleontologists find rare dinosaur 'mummy'
Paleontologists find rare dinosaur 'mummy'
19 September, 13:39SciencePhoto: The Dinosaur Database
Due to the excellent preservation of the skin, scientists believe that the dinosaur was either killed by a rock fragment that fell on it, or immediately after death it was covered with sand and silt.

A rare fossil discovered in Canada is thought to be a complete dinosaur skeleton with fossilized skin, Science Alert reports. The find was made in Alberta's Dinosore Provincial Park, one of the largest dinosaur fossil repositories in the world, with the remains of more than 500 dinosaurs of 39 species.

The latest specimen was discovered thanks to an amateur paleontologist who noticed a strange ledge on a hillside. Paleoecologists have identified the fossil as a hadrosaur, an ornithischian herbivorous dinosaur with a snout resembling a duck's beak. Scientists believe that the animal died young, judging by the small size of the body - only about 4 meters in length, while adults can reach 10 meters. Only the tail and right hind leg of the hadrosaur are now visible. The petrified skin of the animal is not damaged, which suggests that the dinosaur skeleton was preserved entirely in the shell.

“Hadrosaur fossils are relatively common in this part of the world, but there is one thing that makes this find unique. It's the fact that large areas of the exposed skeleton are covered in fossilized skin, explains paleontologist Caleb Brown of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology. “This suggests that even more preserved skin may have been preserved in the rock, which can give us an idea of what the hadrosaur looked like”.

Due to the preservation of the skin, scientists believe that the dinosaur was either killed by a rock fragment that fell on it, or immediately after death it was covered with sand and silt. Finding out what happened would take two years of painstaking work carving the stone block that contains the fossil. The stone will then travel to the Royal Tyrrell Paleontological Museum, where researchers will work to free the fossil from the stone. This process may take years.

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