Scientists Find the Best-Preserved Dinosaur Fossil of Its Kind

Statue-like fossil that's as 'rare as winning the lottery' is now on display.

May 12, 2017 1:18 pm

A dinosaur fossil, unveiled at The Royal Tyrell Museum on Friday, remains so well preserved it looks like a statue.

The nodosaur fossil has been called the the best-preserved specimen of its kind. Scientists believe the reptile was fossilized whole, but half was intact when it was discovered in an Alberta pit mine in 2011, reported in the June issue of National Geographic magazine.

June issue of National Geographic magazine
(National Geographic)

At 18 feet long and 3,000 pounds, the herbivore roamed the Earth between 110 to 112 million years ago. In its demise, the nodosaur literally went belly up—falling into a river, getting carried out to sea and eventually sinking to the bottom on its back

The reptile’s rapid sea burial and its positioning, which allowed mud and rock to collect on top without disturbing the body, contributed to the unprecedented fossilization that reveals details of its skin and armor.

Paleontologists often find bones and teeth, but soft tissue is a rarity because they usually rot before minerals can replace them. Even the process of fossilization itself can distort their true-to-life shape.

For the team at Royal Tyrell Museum, the near-perfect condition of the nodosaur fossil is as “rare as winning the lottery.”

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