Spectacularly Detailed Armored Dinosaur “Mummy” Makes Its Debut

A nodosaur found in Alberta includes some of the best preserved dino skin and armor ever found

By Jason Daley


MAY 15, 2017

In 2011, a heavy equipment operator at the Millennium Mine in northern Alberta started digging up odd-colored rock. He stopped to take a closer look, puzzling over the material, which was speckled with strange patterns. His supervisor quickly realized they had something special, Michael Greshko reports for National Geographic.

The nodasaurus fossil on display (Courtesy of Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller, Canada)


캐나다 광산에서 발견된 1억년 전 공룡 미이라

   2011년 캐나다 앨버타 북부 밀레니엄 광산의 한 중장비가 이상한 색 바위를 발굴하기 시작했다. 운전원은 자세히 보기 위해 멈추었다.

공룡의 일종인 갑옷을 입은 노다사우루스에서 화석화된 피부 일부를 추출했다. 하지만 이것은 그냥 화석이 아니라, 지금까지 발견된 것 중 가장 잘 보존된 노다사우루스 표본 중 하나였다. 

이 화석의 모습은 마치 잠든 용과 흡사하다. 발굴을 위해 5년 동안 후원했던 내셔널 지오그래픽에 따르면, 무게 1,300kg, 5.4m 길이의 생물이 강 안이나 근처에서 죽었을 가능성이 있다고 한다

그리고 나서 그것의 부풀어 오른 시체는 바다로 떠내려가, 먼저 뒤쪽으로 화석화가 시작되며 진흙 속으로 가라앉았다.

"이것은 기본적으로 화석이 아니라 공룡 미이라야. 정말 예외적이야."라고 이 화석이 소장되어 있는 로얄 티렐 박물관의 보존 및 연구 책임자인 돈 브링크만이 뉴욕 타임즈의 크레이그 S. 스미스에게 말한다.

황기철 콘페이퍼 에디터 큐레이터

Ki Cheol Hwang, conpaper editor, curator

edited by kcontents

The operator had just extracted a bit of fossilized skin from an armored nodasaurus, a type of ankylosaur. But this wasn't just any fossil, it was one of the best-preserved nodasaurus specimens ever found. 

The fossil remains are incredibly lifelike, resembling a sleeping dragon. According National Geographic, which sponsored the five-year, 7,000-hour preparation of the fossil, it’s likely that the 3,000-pound,18-foot-long creature died in or near a river. Then its bloated carcass floated out to sea before sinking back-first into the muck where fossilization began.  


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“It’s basically a dinosaur mummy—it really is exceptional,” Don Brinkman, director of preservation and research at the Royal Tyrrell Museum where the fossil is housed tells Craig S. Smith at The New York Times.

The remarkable preservation of its armored plates, as well as some preserved scales, are helping paleontologists finally understand the size and shape of the creature's keratin defenses. “I’ve been calling this one the Rosetta stone for armor,” Donald Henderson, curator of dinosaurs at the Tyrrell Museum tells Greshko.

As Matt Rehbein at CNN reports, the dino is 110 million years old, making it the oldest ever found in Alberta. It also represents a new genus and species of nodosaur. But the most exciting aspect may be at the microscopic level, Greshko reports. The researchers have detected miniscule bits of red pigment, which could help them reconstruct the dinosaur's coloration—a feature that may have helped it attract mates.


Canada discovered a mummified dinosaur from approx 110 million years ago, finally unearthed it after last year and just put it on display. A full freakin dino mummy.

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“This armor was clearly providing protection, but those elaborated horns on the front of its body would have been almost like a billboard,” Jakob Vinther, an animal coloration expert from the University of Bristol who has studied the fossil, tells Greshko.

The new specimen isn’t the only exceptional ankylosaur specimen recently unveiled. Just last week Brian Switek at Smithsonian.com reported that the Royal Ontario Museum discovered a new species in Montana, which they nicknamed Zuul. That specimen also has some intact armor plates and skin as well as a tail club.



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