Canada’s Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology has just unveiled a dinosaur fossil so completely preserved that many viewers seeing it for the first time thought it was a statue. The 2,500-pound plant-eating nodosaur is estimated to be over 110 million years old and would have been a four legged tank in its day with its massive sharp shell protecting it from attackers.
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This one of a kind beast was found in the Millenium Mine, near Alberta in 2011. Shawn Funk, who was mining in the area with a mechanical backhoe, hit “something much harder than the surrounding rock.” After further investigation, Funk realized it looked like no rock he had ever seen.
Funk told The Washington Post it was just “row after row of sandy brown disks, each ringed in gunmetal gray stone.”
For the next six years, experts works on uncovering the massive dinosaur from the earth. The museum told a local new station that the nodosaur is the most pristine armored dinosaur in the world. It took a reported 7,000 hours to get the massive beast ready to be moved and on display in the museum.
“It’s as rare as winning the lottery,” Michael Greshko wrote for National Geographic when speaking of the dinosaur’s amazingly preserved condition. ‘The more I look at it, the more mind-boggling it becomes.”
The nodosaurs were a part of the Cretaceous Period and belonged to the ankylosaur subgroup, according to the Smithsonian. The creature was estimated to have been 18 feet long with two 20-inch-long spikes that acted as shoulder pads.
Researchers have come to the conclusion that the dinosaur had wandered into what is now western Canada before being swept out to sea by a flash flood.
If it wasn’t for the undersea preservation, this could be like every other dinosaur find -simply a partial skeleton. In fact, the water kept the armored beast so preserved that you can still make out the scales from its armored back.
“[It] might have been walking around a couple of weeks ago,” Jakob Vinther, from the University of Bristol, said to Daily Mail. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”
We should all be very glad that this beast wasn’t walking around two weeks ago.