Incredible discovery of a dinosaur with remains of skin!

Des paléontologues viennent de découvrir un squelette de hadrosaure datant du Crétacé et portant des restes de peau fossilisée © Daniel Eskridge, Adobe Stock

Although Dinosaur Provincial Park in Canada is known for its wealth of fossils, this new discovery of a hadrosaur skeleton is quite special: the exposed part has several fragments of fossilized skin that promise to provide valuable and new information about this Cretaceous dinosaur. You will also be interested
[EN VIDÉO] Interview: three exceptional dinosaurs Dinosaurs are amazing creatures because of their nature, their abilities or their size. They know no equivalent in the animal world today. Futura-Sciences interviewed Éric Buffetaut, paleontologist, to tell us about the most surprising dinosaurs. Every discovery of dinosaur fossils brings scientists their share of excitement. But there are some that are particularly agitated. Such is the case with this surprising discovery of a hadrosaur skeleton, made in 2021. While walking in Dinosaur Provincial Park, Canada, a group of students and scientists come across a small part of the skeleton of ‘this duck-billed dinosaur that emerges from the side. of a small hill. At first glance, nothing exceptional about the site. The site, classified by Unesco, is known for its formidable concentration of fossils dating from the end of the Cretaceous (77-75 million years) and paleontologists there they come regularly to dig up new specimens. Several hadrosaur skeletons have been found in the region before, but upon closer inspection, scientists notice an important detail: the exposed section, which corresponds to the tail and part of the individual’s leg, shows several areas with remains of fossilized skin. The areas covered are also quite large A very promising discovery It doesn’t take much to set up a dig mission quickly because the discovery is very promising. The position of the visible part of the skeleton suggests, in fact, that the specimen may have been preserved in its entirety, the vast majority of the fossil being for the time being still buried in the gray sedimentary rock that forms the small hill. this park, discovering an entire specimen is much rarer and could provide important information that has been missing until now about the appearance of this herbivorous dinosaur and about its anatomy. Scientists also hope to find other areas covered in fossilized skin, which would help paint a much more detailed portrait of this species. Finding fragments of fossilized skin is actually very rare, as this soft part is more difficult to preserve that bones. Given the importance of the covered areas in the exposed part of the fossil, scientists suggest that the specimen was buried very quickly, certainly less than two days after its death. This would have allowed the exceptional preservation of the skin. Another of the specificities of this discovery: the small size of the bones of the tail and the foot suggests that it could be a young individual. A discovery, again, quite rare and which could allow a better understanding of how these dinosaurs evolved and developed over time. Much information to come about the “Cretaceous cow” Hadrosaurs are one of the emblematic figures of the Cretaceous. The number of fossils discovered is, indeed, so great that this species is nicknamed the Cretaceous cow, since the herds must have been numerous at that time. The excavation of this unique specimen thus began in August 2022 and should be extended over several months. There is long and painstaking work ahead, but it is necessary to ensure the good preservation of the fossil. Once cleaned, the skeleton will be transferred to the preparation laboratory of the Royal Tyrell Museum, in order to be studied and analyzed under all its seams This study should still take several years. Patience is required but it should certainly bring its share of surprises and scientific advances. Interested in what you just read?
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