A “mummified” dinosaur with preserved skin discovered in Canada

Parts of a fossilized dinosaur have been found on the slopes of Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada. What caught the researchers’ attention the most in this discovery was that the animal kept its skin, just like the mummies.

University of Reading paleoecologist Brian Pickles, who led the research, identified the pieces as belonging to a type of hadrosaur. It is a herbivorous species, which was about 4 meters long and was commonly found during the late Cretaceous, between 75 and 65 million years ago.

Brian Pickles said that, given the size of the tail and foot, the animal found is likely a young hadrosaur, while this species is capable of reaching 10 meters in length as adults. The next excavations will make it possible to disentangle other particularities and to encourage new research, in particular on the appearance of this herbivore.

Image: Diagram of the exposed parts and structures of the dinosaur and what could happen, during the next excavations. Credits: Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology

Based on what was found (tail and right hind foot) and the state of preservation of these body structures, scientists are confident that the complete skeleton is intact at this location. The good preservation of its skin is thought to be due to the fact that it was covered quickly after its death, which occurred probably 76 million years ago.

Internal organs of dinosaurs can be preserved

Pickle is excited about future digs. He said that “if we are very lucky, some of the other internal organs may also be preserved.” Discovering this will still take time, as this type of effort must be done in a delicate and meticulous way so that the stone, which houses the fossil, is not destroyed in a way that would also compromise the mortal remains.

For now, the stone will be sent to the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, where researchers will extract the rest of the fossil. It is hoped that the skull is intact, with it it will be possible to identify exactly which species of hadrosaur was found. With the rest of the body, the researchers will be able to establish how the development of this animal took place until it reached the adult stage.

Via: Science Alert

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