Scientists believe they have come across a "Dinosaur Mummy," after finding one of the best-preserved Dinosaur skeletons ever.
According to a report last week by the University of Reading in the United Kingdom, researchers discovered parts of what appears to be a full dinosaur mummy lodged in a hillside. In Canada, scientists believe they have discovered a fossilized dinosaur skeleton with fossilized skin, which is a rare find. One of the world’s richest dinosaur fossil locations, Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada, contains the exposed fossil of a large, herbivorous dinosaur called a hadrosaur.
An extensive part of the tail and right hindfoot have been preserved in the fossil, and the structure of the fossil suggests that the entire skeleton still exists inside the hill. It is very rare to find a dinosaur skeleton in its entirety, so this exceptional “dinosaur mummy” may reveal important details about the animal’s appearance and overall anatomy.
The fossil was discovered during scouting by field school students in 2021. A volunteer crew member named Teri Kaskie discovered a fossil skeleton while Dr. Brian Pickles from the University of Reading was conducting a search of the area.
Featuring academics and students from the University of Reading and the University of New England in Australia, the first international paleontology field school is kicking off this year. Team members are working in collaboration with the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Canada to protect exposed fossils while excavating the skeleton. In his statement, Dr. Pickles said that “there are exciting discoveries to be made, and we hope to complete the excavation over the next two field seasons.”
Based on the small size of the tail and foot, Dr. Pickels believes this is likely to be a young dinosaur. There is a substantial amount of fossil evidence for adult duck-billed dinosaurs, but younger animals are far less common. As a result, the find could aid paleontologists in understanding how hadrosaurs developed and grew.
According to Dr. Caleb Brown from the Royal Tyrrell Museum, hadrosaur fossils are fairly common in this area. Still, this find stands out due to the fossilized skin covering large portions of the exposed skeleton. If there is, even more, preserved skin within the rock, the researcher suggests, we can gain even more insight into the hadrosaur’s appearance.
Several field seasons, or even several months, may be required to collect the entire skeleton. After the fossil has been collected, it will be transported to the Royal Tyrrell Museum’s Preparation Lab, where trained technicians will uncover the fossil’s structure.
Preparation involves determining how well preserved the animal’s skeleton is, whether it is intact, and how much of the skin has survived. An exact identification of duck-billed dinosaurs can only be made if a skull is found. This specimen may take several years to fully prepare for research and display, given its size and preservation.
*Note: the featured image is not of the recently found Dinosaur. For images of the discovery, please click here.
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