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.
New Nodosaur Fossil Like a Statue Glaring
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.
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.