The province of Alberta, Canada has been home to the preserved dinosaur known as nodosaur. Having been discovered in 2011, scientists identified the finding as the greatest preserved specimen of its period.
It is still unknown how the animal with its heavy armor and size ended up at the bottom of what was an ancient sea. The minerals are what kept the remains of the nodosaur intact preserving its face after 110 million years.
Suncor, a company who owns oil sands where the dinosaur was found, came across the unexpected find during their mining operations. After a shovel operator came upon the fossil it a geologist was contacted.
Under Alberta law, all fossils become the property of the province and not of the land owners where found. Most fossils are usually discovered after exposure to erosion but mining has been another way of discovering fossils.
After contacting a geologist, Dr. Don Brinkman, the director of preservation and research at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta, states they went to go check out the finding from Suncor to collect it.
They found the dinosaur to be preserved from the neck to its armor which outlines the individual scales of the dinosaur. According to Caleb Brown, a postdoctoral research of the museum states that the dinosaur is as it would have been when alive.
Making this fossilization of the nodosaur a rare finding not just for that specific species but for all dinosaurs. Usually, the bones and teeth are what remains preserved with some minerals replacing soft tissue before it rots.
Scientists who have worked with the fossilization of the nodosaur has left them astonished since the minerals have infiltrated the skin and armor making the dinosaur keep its true life form.
There is still further examination needed to fully understand the fossil from underneath without destroying its outer layers, the skin and armor.
The nodosaur was a type of the anklosaur which roamed between 110 million to 112 million years ago, midway through the Cretaceous period. Early in the Cretaceous period, rising waters carved a seaway inland much of what is Alberta now which the ancient sea lie underneath forests and fields of wheat.