Upon first glance, you would probably assume it to be one of Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons. However, it isn’t, but it is unlike anything that anyone has ever seen before.
Found in Alberta, this unique dinosaur species was encased on the bottom of the ocean, where minerals kept the remains intact, as it gradually became a fossil. It was discovered by scientists in 2011, and it didn’t take them long to realize that what they had was one-of-a-kind. Not only was the specimen well preserved, it is actually the best-preserved dinosaur specimen known to man.
The remains belong to an armor-plated nodosaur, which is a 3,000-pound plant-eating horned creature. According to researchers, the remains had probably been in the ocean for over 110 million years.
“We don’t just have a skeleton,” Caleb Brown, a postdoctoral researcher at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology where the fossil went on display, told the magazine.
“We have a dinosaur as it would have been.”
And not only is it the best-preserved dinosaur, it is also the oldest dinosaur found in Alberta. Inside of its stone casing is its preserved skin and gut contents, which provided researchers with invaluable information.
“I’ve been calling this one the Rosetta Stone for armor,” Donald Henderson, curator of dinosaurs at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, told National Geographic.
Six years after it has been discovered, and according to the Guardian, some 7,000 hours of meticulous chipping away at the rock to unearth the dinosaur, the nodosaur finally made its debut at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta. Many are referring to the discovery of the ‘dinosaur mummy.’
“It’s basically a dinosaur mummy- it really is exceptional,” museum researcher Don Brinkman told the New York Times. According to Brinkman, the museum did not inhibit industrial activity as they searched and retrieved the fossils, so that excavators weren’t afraid to call when they had found something, reported the Times. “These are specimens that would never be recovered otherwise,” he said.