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The Most Perfectly Preserved Dinosaur of All Time

Updated: Oct 21, 2023

Nodosaurs roamed Earth during the late Jurassic Period, around 150 million years ago and, until recently, very little was known about this species, other than their heavily armored appearance, with spines and spikes to ward off giant predators.

That changed, with the accidental discovery of an amazingly well preserved specimen, which is being called the best preserved armored dinosaur fossil in history.

The fossil was unearthed in the western Canadian oil sands of Alberta. This giant herbivore (about 18 feet long) was broken in half while crews were excavating, so sadly the fossil is incomplete. But the front half of the creature is exquisitely preserved, down to fossilized skin, something extremely rare to find.

The extraordinary preservation was due to the animal’s rapid undersea burial, into the silt of the ocean floor, which then dried and fossilized. The result is a specimen that scientists lust after. It preserved not only the armor (osteoderms) in their life positions, but also remains of their keratin sheaths, overlying skin, and stomach contents from the animal's last meal. Melanosomes were also found that indicate the animal had a reddish skin tone.

It’s an extraordinary example of good geologic luck, and an exciting scientific discovery that will hopefully lead to great research and knowledge of our dinosaur past.

The nodosaur is now on display at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Alberta and they have released a 90 second video showcasing the beast. Why not feast your eyes?


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