When we think of the term “mummy,” we think of relatively well-preserved human remains. These often date several millennia in age and are commonly found in ceremonial garb. However, archaeologists exploring a fossil-rich area in Canada may have discovered an entirely different kind of mummy. Located in the Canada’s rocky hills, a team of scientists claims they’ve found what they believe is a “dinosaur mummy.”
According to the New York Post, the University of Reading in Canada issued a statement in early September stating one of their teams had potentially discovered a completely fossilized skeleton. This is, basically, the dinosaur equivalent of a human mummy.
Per the outlet, the mummy was located in Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta. This particular park is extremely rich in dinosaur fossils. The team initially discovered the mummy during a scouting mission in 2021. At that time, one of the team’s volunteers noticed a portion of the dinosaur mummy protruding from a hillside.
Photos of the creature have many scientists thinking this prehistoric beast is of the Hadrosaur family. While hardly infamous like the Tyrannosaurus-rex or as grand as the Brontosaurus, the Hadrosaur is unique nonetheless. The mighty creature, large in size, is herbivorous and boasts a duck-like bill.
That said, the dinosaur mummy located in Alberta is not nearly as large as its maturer cousins. Instead, researchers believe the creature, small in stature comparatively, is a juvenile. So while it might not impress in size, it could potentially tell scientists exactly how the Hadrosaur grew into adulthood.
Brian Pickles, Ph. D. in charge of leading the 2021 team, said of the dinosaur mummy’s discovery, “Although adult duck-billed dinosaurs are well-represented in the fossil record, younger animals are far less common. This means the find could help (paleontologists) to understand how hadrosaurs grew and developed.”
Dinosaur Mummy Offers More Than a Bone to Pick
Locating a completely intact dinosaur skeleton is a feat in itself—especially considering their violent demise millions of years ago. However, what makes the Alberta dinosaur mummy even more remarkable is not just the skeleton in its entirety. It’s also remarkable because many of the creature’s exposed parts are covered in fossilized skin.
Not only, then, do scientists potentially have one of their first looks at a completely intact juvenile Hadrosaur, but they can also get a glimpse of what these mighty creatures looked like millennia ago when they originally walked the earth.
Speaking about the preserved skin and bone structure, Caleb Brown, Ph. D. at the Royal Tyrrell Museum—the museum charged with housing the dinosaur mummy once freed—spoke about the importance of the creature’s fossilized skin.
“This (exposed skin) suggests that there may be even more preserved skin within the rock, which can give us further insight into what the Hadrosaur looked like,” he said.
As exciting as the discovery of the dinosaur mummy is, fossil enthusiasts and history buffs likely have several years to wait before the creature is well-preserved and ready to display.