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A Rare Duck-Billed Dinosaur Skeleton With Basketball-Like Fossilized Skin Was Found In Canada

A rare duck-billed dinosaur skeleton with basketball-like fossilized skin was found in Canada. When paleontologists in Alberta, Canada, discovered a nearly complete skeleton of a hadrosaur (a duck-billed, herbivorous dinosaur) with preserved soft tissue, they realized they had made a once-in-a-lifetime finding.

The 13-foot (4-meter) long animal lived during the Cretaceous epoch when rivers crisscrossed the terrain and perished some 76 million years ago (145 to 66 million years ago).

As a result of its rich prehistoric fossil deposits, the region is today known as Dinosaur Provincial Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. CBC/Radio Canada, Canada's national public broadcaster, reports that between 400 and 500 dinosaur bones or heads have been discovered in the region.

A Duck-billed Dinosaur

Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada, is one of the world's greatest areas for dinosaur fossils. The exposed fossil of a large-bodied, herbivorous, duck-billed dinosaur is still jutting from a hillside.

The fossil's position suggests that the whole skeleton may still be inside the mound. This makes it a unique "dinosaur mummy" that will likely tell us a lot about the animal's appearance and body.

Teri Kaskie, an environmentalist and volunteer on the excavation crew, "came upon the fossils by surprise" in August of last year when she saw bones sticking out of the hillside. To finish excavating the dinosaur, Pickles and a few of his students from the university traveled to Canada this year.

This is a time-consuming operation that may need another field excursion next summer. And although the researchers have a good idea that an entire Hadrosaur skeleton is buried in the rocky matrix, they won't know for sure until they finish excavating the site.

The fossil was found in 2021 on a scouting trip led by Dr. Brian Pickles of the University of Reading. Dr. Pickles stated the finding:

We plan to finish the excavation over the following two field seasons. The short tail and tiny feet suggest this is a young animal. Though duck-billed dinosaurs are well-represented in the fossil record as adults, juveniles are rare. Consequently, the discovery may aid paleontologists in elucidating the developmental history of hadrosaurs.

Fossil could be rare complete dinosaur skeleton discovered in Canada

Conclusion

It might take many months to gather and assemble the whole skeleton, but once it's done, it'll be sent to the Preparation Lab at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, where a team of experts will strive to decipher its secrets.

They will also check to see how much of the skin and bones have survived. It might take a long time (years) to have the skeleton ready for study and public exhibition.

But until a head is found, scientists won't know what kind of duck-billed dinosaur the remains belong to.

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