Dinosaur “Mummy” Found Recently Is So Well-Preserved That The Skin And Guts Are Still Visible

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A researcher who was participating noted, “We don’t only have a skeleton. In its place, there is a dinosaur.

Nodosaur: highlight of the dino exhibit at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta, Canada. Robert Clark/National Geographic

The best-preserved dinosaur specimen ever found has been hailed by scientists. Because of the preservation of its skin and armor, you cannot see its bones.

This nodosaur fossil was unintentionally discovered by miners in Canada, and despite its age—more than 110 million years—the skin still bears patterns. The dinosaur is so well-preserved that, rather than calling it a “fossil,” we could legitimately refer to it as a “dinosaur mummy,” the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta claims, Canada, which just revealed the find.

The holotype of Borealopelta on display at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Alberta. Image credit: ケラトプスユウタ

The find’s almost unparalleled state of preservation shocked the researchers who examined it. They had never before seen a monster with intact skin, armor, and even some of its guts.

One researcher claimed, “It can easily be recreated with a little imagination.; if you simply squint your eyes a little, you could almost assume it was sleeping.”

So far, only the skeletons of nodosaurs, which are described as follows, have been found.

Nodosaur bones at Houston Museum of Natural Science at Sugar Land, Fort Bend Co., Texas. Image credit: fossilmike

It was designed like a tank, this dinosaur. It was a massive four-legged herbivore that belonged to the recently found species known as a nodosaur and was shielded by a plate of sharp thorns. About 3,000 pounds were the weight of it.

It still weights 2,500 pounds, just to give you a sense of how well preserved the mummified nodosaur is!

Nodosaur (armoured dinosaur) fossil discovered at the Suncor Mine near Fort McMurray by Government of Alberta

Researchers hypothesize that a flooding river may have washed the nodosaur away and taken out to sea, where it eventually sunk to the ocean floor, however it is still unclear how the dinosaur mummy was able to survive for so long intact.

Minerals might have accumulated on the dinosaur’s skin and armor over the course of millions of years. It could be possible to understand why the creature was preserved in such a lifelike state in this way.

The 5.5-meter (18-foot-long) nodosaur, which bears the name Borealopelta markmitchelli in honor of Mark Mitchell, a worker at the Royal Tyrrell Museum who spent more than 7,000 hours carefully removing the fossil from its rocky bed, has been studied by scientists.

Technician Mark Mitchell prepping the Nodosaur. Royal Tyrrell Museum

However, how realistically “lifelike” is the specimen? Apparently the preservation was so exceptional that by identifying the pigments themselves using mass spectrometry techniques, scientists were able to determine the dinosaur’s skin tone.

They learned that the nodosaur had a dark reddish brown color on top of its body and a lighter tint on its underside in this fashion. The fact that this dinosaur was a herbivore suggests that its skin tone helped to shield it from the massive carnivores that were around at the time.

Also demonstrating how dangerous those predators must have been is the fact that we’re talking about a huge, heavily-armored dinosaur.

Robert Clark/National Geographic

According to a press statement from the museum regarding the exhibit, an unknowing excavator operator made the important discovery of the nodosaur while working in an oil sands mine. The nodosaur was prepared for public viewing after 7,000 laborious rebuilding hours.

The dinosaur mummy is exceptional since it was kept in three dimensions while maintaining the animal’s original shape, as if the preservation of skin, armor, and guts weren’t stunning enough.

It will be remembered as one of the most exquisite and well-preserved dinosaur specimens in science history, the Mona Lisa of dinosaurs, according to one expert.

Robert Clark/National Geographic

A dinosaur’s Mona Lisa Isn’t that true, though?

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