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Fri Aug 4, 2017, 09:11 AM

A Dinosaur So Well Preserved It Looks Like a Statue



In March 2011, a construction worker named Shawn Funk visited an impressive dinosaur collection at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Alberta. As he walked through halls full of ancient bones, he had no idea that a week later, he’d add to their ranks by finding one of the most spectacular dinosaur fossils of all time. It’s an animal so well preserved that its skeleton can’t be seen for the skin and soft tissues that still cover it.

When we look at dinosaurs in museums, it takes imagination to plaster flesh and skin on top of the bones. But for the dinosaur that Funk unearthed—a 110-million-year-old creature named Borealopelta—imagination isn’t necessary. It looks like a sculpture. And based on pigments that still lurk within the skin, scientists think they know what colors the animal had. “If someone wants to come face to face with a dinosaur, and see what it actually looked like, this is the one for that,” says Caleb Brown from the Royal Tyrrell Museum, who has studied the animal.

Borealopelta was one of the ankylosaurs—a group of heavy-set, low-slung, tank-like dinosaurs. It lacked the shin-thwacking tail clubs that some of its relatives wielded, but its back was covered in heavy, armored scales, and a pair of 20-inch-long spikes jutted from its shoulders. It weighed 1.5 tons and was 20 feet from foot to tail. And it probably couldn’t swim very well.

Somehow, this particular individual ended up at sea. Perhaps it got careless on a shoreline. Perhaps it drowned in a flood and was washed out to sea. Either way, gases started building up in its body, causing it to float belly-up. As those gases released, the dead dinosaur sank, and hit the ocean floor hard enough to leave a small crater. Before sharks had a chance to nibble it, or worms had a chance to bury into its bones, it was quickly smothered by fine sediment and sealed off from the outside world. There it remained for millions of years, until March 11, 2011, when an excavator bit into it.

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/08/a-dinosaur-so-well-preserved-it-looks-like-a-statue/535782/

23 replies, 16972 views

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Reply A Dinosaur So Well Preserved It Looks Like a Statue (Original post)
Zorro Aug 4 OP
50 Shades Of Blue Aug 4 #1
Guilded Lilly Aug 4 #2
hlthe2b Aug 4 #3
Pacifist Patriot Aug 4 #4
Cracklin Charlie Aug 4 #5
MFM008 Aug 4 #6
VaBchTgerLily Aug 4 #7
GulfCoast66 Aug 4 #8
Moostache Aug 4 #15
calimary Aug 4 #9
BlancheSplanchnik Aug 4 #10
SusanaMontana41 Aug 4 #11
WinstonSmith4740 Aug 4 #12
sandensea Aug 4 #13
lunatica Aug 4 #19
Honeycombe8 Aug 4 #14
Angry Dragon Aug 4 #16
niyad Aug 4 #17
burrowowl Aug 4 #18
Rhiannon12866 Aug 5 #20
PatrickforO Aug 5 #21
eppur_se_muova Aug 5 #22
chowder66 Aug 7 #23

Response to Zorro (Original post)

Fri Aug 4, 2017, 09:13 AM

1. Incredible!

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Fri Aug 4, 2017, 09:19 AM

2. WOw! I love this history.

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Fri Aug 4, 2017, 09:35 AM

3. Wonderful!

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Fri Aug 4, 2017, 10:10 AM

4. Cool!!!

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Fri Aug 4, 2017, 10:16 AM

5. Great article.

I recently learned that a mastodon was unearthed on property owned by a friend.

Fascinating!

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Fri Aug 4, 2017, 10:50 AM

6. Thanks

.....

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Fri Aug 4, 2017, 10:55 AM

7. fascinating-great post! thank you for sharing Zorro

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Fri Aug 4, 2017, 11:01 AM

8. I know people who will tell you

That it was buried 6k years ago when god flooded the world

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Response to GulfCoast66 (Reply #8)

Fri Aug 4, 2017, 11:47 AM

15. I am making it my life's mission to bankrupt those kinds...share their address? (LOL...n/t)

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Fri Aug 4, 2017, 11:05 AM

9. Stunning!

Man, imagine what must have gone through the mind of the guy who unearthed it - AS he unearthed it. To find that emerging from the ground. First I'd think you'd freak out. Then you'd be gobsmacked as it started to dawn on you exactly what you'd just discovered.

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Fri Aug 4, 2017, 11:06 AM

10. Wow!! Amazing!!

Poor thing.... 😪💔

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Fri Aug 4, 2017, 11:16 AM

11. Mind-blowing.

Thanks for the post

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Fri Aug 4, 2017, 11:20 AM

12. Awesome!

Thankfully it was found by someone who believes in science. A few years back, I read an article about a rancher who refused to let paleontologists study fossils found on his land because he didn't believe in that stuff. There's a neat little fossil exhibit in St. George, Utah that is fascinating because luckily, that farmer DID believe in science. When he unearthed the first fossils, he shut down the field he was preparing, called in the scientists, and now there is a totally bitching, great teaching tool where you'd never expect it. Highly recommended if you're in the neighborhood, which you will be if you ever go to Zion National Park.
http://www.utahdinosaurs.com/

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Fri Aug 4, 2017, 11:23 AM

13. For a second I thought this was about the Reagan monument at Reagan National Airport



The Reagan monument with another fossil, Liz Dole

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Response to sandensea (Reply #13)

Fri Aug 4, 2017, 05:28 PM

19. LOL!

You mean St. Ronny right?

After all, the Republican party have canonized him haven't they?

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Fri Aug 4, 2017, 11:40 AM

14. Wow. Fascinating. It looks like a lizzard. nt

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Fri Aug 4, 2017, 12:03 PM

16. kick

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Fri Aug 4, 2017, 02:09 PM

17. utterly amazing!! thanks so much for sharing!!

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Fri Aug 4, 2017, 05:03 PM

18. Wow!!!!!

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Sat Aug 5, 2017, 05:52 AM

20. Wow! That is really something!!!

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Sat Aug 5, 2017, 03:35 PM

21. Wow, that is intense.

The powerful narrative leads us to imagine events on this day so long ago. Thanks for posting!

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Sat Aug 5, 2017, 05:48 PM

22. Armoured tank-like dino used camouflage to hide (BBC)

By Prof Sarah Gabbott Science writer

3 August 2017
From the section Science & Environment

A new species of mega-herbivore dinosaur discovered in Alberta, Canada, preserves incredible details of its skin, scales and spines.

The exquisite specimen is a type of amour-plated nodosaurid ankylosaur.

It was camouflaged which suggests that, despite its tank-like appearance, it hid to avoid predation.

That such a large creature needed camouflage indicates the presence of even larger, keen-eyed meat-eating theropod dinosaurs.
***
B. markmitchelli is remarkable because the osteoderms are covered by a keratin sheath, an organic layer that is usually lost in the fossilisation process. The skin of the creature is also preserved and can be seen between the gaps of the osteoderms.
***
more: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-40815935



I had to note this line from the very end of the article: "B. markmitchelli is named in honour of the fossil preparator - Mark Mitchell - who spent over 7,000 hours skilfully revealing the fossil by removing, grain-by-grain, the iron-carbonate nodule which encased it."

Ouch. Iron carbonate aka ironstone is tough stuff.

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Response to Zorro (Original post)

Mon Aug 7, 2017, 12:21 PM

23. Awww sleeping dino-puppies!!! nt

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