Paleontologists find rare dinosaur with fossilized skin in Canada

The exposed fossil of part of the hadrosaur, a large-bodied, duck-billed, herbivorous dinosaur.

It juts out of a hill in Canada , suggesting the entire skeleton may still be preserved within rocks.

Paleontologists from the University of Reading believe they have discovered a rare dinosaur skeleton complete with fossilized skin in Canada .

The exposed fossil of the hadrosaur, a large-bodied, duck-billed herbivorous dinosaur , juts out from a hill in Alberta’s Dinosaur Provincial Park, which is one of the world’s richest places for dinosaur fossils .

” Dinosaur Mummy “

The fossil includes a large part of the animal’s tail and its right hind leg, and is oriented in a way that suggests the entire skeleton may still be preserved within the hill. Complete skeletons are very rare, so it is likely that this exceptional ” dinosaur mummy ” provides important information about the animal’s appearance and general anatomy.

The dinosaur fossil was first discovered during an exploratory visit to a field school in 2021. Dr Brian Pickles of the University of Reading was leading a search of the area when a volunteer crew member named Teri Kaskie he noticed part of a fossil skeleton protruding from a hillside.

The first international paleontology field school is taking place this year, involving academics and students from the University of Reading and the University of New England in Australia. In collaboration with the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Canada , the team is working together to excavate the skeleton and protect the fossil on display.

Pickles said: “This is a very exciting discovery and we hope to complete the excavation within the next two field seasons. Based on the small size of the tail and foot, it is likely to be a juvenile. Although adult duck-billed dinosaurs are well represented in the fossil record, younger animals are much less common. This means the find could help paleontologists understand how hadrosaurs grew and developed.”

“More skin preserved within rock”

Dr Caleb Brown, from the Royal Tyrrell Museum, said: “Hadrosaur fossils are relatively common in this part of the world, but another thing that makes this find unique is the fact that large areas of the exposed skeleton are covered in skin. This suggests there may be even more skin preserved within the rock, which may give us a better idea of ​​what the hadrosaur looked like.”

The collection of the entire skeleton can take several months, and even several field seasons, to complete. Once the fossil is collected, it will be delivered to the Royal Tyrrell Museum’s Preparation Laboratory, where qualified technicians will work to discover the fossil.

During the preparation process, they will determine how well preserved the skeleton is, whether the entire skeleton is present, and how much of the animal’s skin is preserved. It will only be possible to identify the exact species of duck-billed dinosaur if a skull is discovered. Depending on the size and preservation of this specimen, its complete preparation for research and display may take several years.

(With information from Europe Press)