Once upon a time when I was in elementary school and attending a museum field trip, I remember the tour guide pointing to a robotic dinosaur and smartly saying, “We don’t really know what dinosaur skin looked like. It could have looked like this (brown and bumpy), or it could have been pink with purple polka dots.”
Well, random museum tour guide from 20 years ago, if you haven’t seen the recent news, dinosaurs are officially not pink with purple polka dots! A newly unveiled, remarkably preserved dinosaur mummy at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta, Canada is now offering the world a clear glimpse of a real dinosaur as it looked when alive. Much more than a fossil or typical dinosaur skeleton, the intact nodosaur is fully comprised of skin, armor, and even gut contents. The find is a truly incredibly and highly unusual discovery. Learn more and take a look at this ancient creature’s mummy in the article below from Archaeology World:
CANADA UNVEILS ‘DINOSAUR MUMMY’ FOUND WITH SKIN AND GUT CONTENTS INTACT
Scientists hail it as perhaps the best-preserved dinosaur specimen ever uncovered. You can’t even see its bones.
That’s because, 110 million years later, those bones remain covered by the creature’s intact skin and armor.
Indeed, the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta, Canada recently unveiled a dinosaur so well-preserved that many have taken to calling it not a fossil, but an honest-to-goodness “dinosaur mummy.”
With the creature’s skin, armor, and even some of its guts intact, researchers are astounded at its nearly unprecedented level of preservation.
“We don’t just have a skeleton,” Caleb Brown, a researcher at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, told National Geographic. “We have a dinosaur as it would have been.”
When this dinosaur — a member of a new species named nodosaur — was alive, it was an enormous four-legged herbivore protected by a spiky, plated armor and weighing in at approximately 3,000 pounds.
Today, the mummified nodosaur is so intact that it still weighs 2,500 pounds.
How the dinosaur mummy could remain so intact is still something of a mystery, although as CNN says, researchers suggest that the creature “may have been swept away by a flooded river and carried out to sea, where it eventually sank.
Over millions of years on the ocean floor, minerals took the place of the dinosaur’s armor and skin, preserving it in the lifelike form now on display.”
Although the nodosaur dinosaur mummy was so well-preserved, getting it into its current display form was still an arduous undertaking.
The creature was, in fact, first discovered in 2011 when a crude oil mine worker accidentally discovered the specimen while on the job.
Since that lucky moment, it has taken researchers 7,000 hours over the course of the last six years to both tests the remains and prepare them for display at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, where visitors now have the chance to see the closest thing to a real-life dinosaur that the world has likely ever seen.
It’s still a mystery to scientists why exactly this specimen is so intact! What are your theories? Comment below!