It was 18 feet long and built like a tank. Now its mummified remains have emerged from an oil sands mine in Canada.
No, it’s not the plotline of a summer blockbuster. It’s science: breathtaking, take-you-back-in-time science.
Meet nodosaur, the crown jewel of a newly opened dinosaur exhibit at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta, Canada.
What makes the nodosaur staggeringly unique isn’t its size (we get it; dinosaurs were big), but its almost unprecedented state of preservation.
Considering the nodosaur is roughly 110 million years old, the sleeping giant you see when you look at it is astounding. For one thing, you don’t see bones; most of the skeleton is undetectable because it’s covered in fossilized skin and, as the museum describes it, “encased in intact body armour.”
The nodosaur was found in 2011. An unsuspecting excavator operator uncovered the historic discovery while digging in an oil sands mine, according to the museum’s news release about the exhibit. Six years and 7,000 painstaking reconstruction hours later, and the nodosaur was ready to meet the public.