How Does a 110-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Still Have Its Skin?
This 110 million year old fossil of an armored nodosaur is now on display at a natural history museum in Alberta, Canada. Image Credit and Copyright: Robert Clark/National Geographic
An arresting image of a “mummified” dinosaur went viral this weekend after National Geographic broke the story of the 110-million-year-old armored plant-eater, a newfound species of nodosaur whose exquisite remains are now on display in the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Alberta, Canada.
The ancient animal is obviously a remarkable specimen—not just a few battered bones, but an entire creature, transformed into stone with bits of the original soft tissue still preserved. When I first saw images of the beast, which was photographed for the June issue of National Geographic, I had to know how it came to be so well-preserved—and if there are other dino mummies like it. So I called up Caleb Brown, one of the paleontologists who has been studying the fossil since it was first unearthed from the Alberta Tar Sands in 2011.
He was quick to emphasize just how special this specimen was.