This Nodosaur Is One Of The Most Impressive Fossils Ever Found

nodosaur footprint

Scientists are still amazed by this incredibly well-preserved nodosaur fossil structure.

 

One of the most impressive and well-preserved fossil structures ever found has been discovered in a Canadian mine. The nodosaur is an ancient cousin of the better-known ankylosaurus, and it lived about 110 million years ago.

So perfect is this preservation that scales, spikes, and even bits of skin are still attached. The creature’s face is so perfectly rendered, it appears to glare across time at those who’ve disturbed its rest.

New Nodosaur Fossil Like a Statue Glaring

The nodosaur lived in a place which was much warmer and wetter 100 million years ago. It most likely ate primitive conifers and ferns. It has a beak like a turtle, and even some of its gut remains preserved. Scientists can tell it had a system of stomachs that broke down its high-fiber diet, rather than any serious teeth for chewing.

Spikes that usually fall away during decomposition still remain, the first of their kind handled by paleontologists. Soft tissue including skin, scales, and organs have been identified. The fossil is extremely fragile, however, and continuing research will be painstaking, yet almost certainly rewarding.

It appears to have died very suddenly, sinking into the shallow seaway that stretched, at the time, from the Gulf of Mexico and up to the Arctic Ocean. In fact, it hit so hard that it appeared to leave a small impact crater.

“It must have been a very quiet, a very muddy, fine-grained and low-oxygenated environment where it settled, because there is no scavenging on the animal,” said Caleb Brown, a postdoctoral fellow at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta.
He is co-authoring a study describing the new species, likely to be released next year. The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta, Canada received the well-preserved fossil from Suncor Energy Corporation, which found it in their mine.

It has since been slowly exposed over the last six years, and it is one of the most impressive of its kind. Now, after many hours of work, its restoration is complete, and the nodosaur is ready to face the public. It is the central piece of a new exhibition opened at the Museum last week.

Image Source: Wikimedia

About Marlene R. Litten

Marlene has always been a journalist at heart, though her wordsmithing capabilities helped her contribute to a multitude of blogs before finally settling for the online press. She strongly advocates for those treated unjustly and likes to cover US and World news.