INCREDIBLY WELL-PRESERVED DINOSAUR FOSSIL PIECED TOGETHER
It may resemble the sort of creepy statue that would look at home in a supervillain’s hidden lair, but this intimidating beastie is in fact the 112-million-year- old fossil of a nodosaur.
Nodosaurs were herbivores whose bodies were encased in tank-like armour and spikes to protect them from predators. This particular example is 5.5m in length and weighs over 1,000kg. The fossil is currently on display at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta, Canada, but was originally discovered in the nearby Suncor Millennium Mine in 2011, by a Suncor employee who was excavating in the mine.
The fossil was then moved to the museum, where its bones were painstakingly cleaned and pieced together – a process that took some 7,000 hours to finish. Now complete, it is one of the best-preserved dinosaur fossils in the world, showing the animal’s anatomy in incredible detail.
The reason for its almost unprecedented state of preservation, researchers say, is its manner of death. It’s likely that the dinosaur fell into a river and was swept out to sea by strong currents or a flood, where it sank to the seabed. Over the course of millions of years on the ocean floor, minerals took the place of its skin, forming an eerily life-like fossil.
Despite their fierce, crocodilelike appearance, nodosaurs were actually herbivores