Despite being more than 110 million years old, this fossilized nodosaur’s skin still shows traces of patterns. It’s so well preserved that instead of a fossil, we could safely call it a dinosaur mummy, according to the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta, Canada.
Researchers were astonished by the preservation level of the find. Skin, armor, and even some of the creature’s guts were intact – something they hadn’t seen before.
Researchers were astonished by the preservation level of the find. Skin, armor, and even some of the creature’s guts were intact – something they hadn’t seen before. The dinosaur was built like a tank. Known as a nodosaur, it was an enormous herbivore protected by spiky, plated armor. It weighed approximately 3,000 pounds. In order to give you an idea of how intact the mummified nodosaur is, it still weighs 2,500 pounds! It is unclear how the dinosaur mummy survived for so long. However, researchers suggest it may have been swept away by a flooded river and sunk to the bottom of the ocean.
Over millions of years, minerals could have settled on dinosaur armor and skin. It may explain why the creature appeared so lifelike. The 5.5 metre (18 foot) nodosaur has been named Borealopelta markmitchelli in honor of Royal Tyrrell Museum technician Mark Mitchell who spent over 7,000 hours carefully unearthing the fossil. Is the specimen really ‘lifelike’? By using mass spectrometry techniques, researchers were able to detect the pigments in the dinosaur’s skin to determine its color.
The nodosaur’s top of the body was a dark reddish brown, while its underside was lighter. Its skin color must have protected it from the enormous carnivores present at the time, since the dinosaur was a herbivore. The fact that we’re talking about a massive, heavily armored dinosaur illustrates just how dangerous those predators must have been… Besides preserving skin, armor, and guts, the dinosaur mummy was also preserved in three dimensions, keeping its original shape.