Scientists Excavate Mummified Dinosaur From Rock in Mind-Blowing Time-Lapse Video

by Amy Myers
Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

Researchers in Canada recently uncovered a mummified dinosaur that appears to still have all of its skin intact.

The team of researchers responsible for the discovery comprised paleontologists from the University of New England and the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller. Initially, in 2021, the team found the bizarre yet intriguing fossil at the Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada.

Ever since then, researchers have continued to excavate the area for any additional fossils. So far, they’ve only uncovered a foot and the tail of the creature. Further inspection revealed that the reptile was the herbivorous hadrosaur, otherwise known as the “duck-billed dinosaur.” These dinos lived during the Late Cretaceous period, roughly 75 to 77 million years ago.

Because of what they’ve already found in their 2022 dig season and the orientation of the tail, scientists believe that the near-complete skeleton of the mummified dinosaur is waiting in the underground rock. They also believe that the remainder of the skeleton also has its skin intact.

Paleontologist Explains Significance of ‘Rare’ Mummified Dinosaur

Among the team of researchers present at the discovery of the mummified dinosaur was the lead researcher of the specimen, Caleb Brown. According to the paleontologist, the fact that the dino’s skin stayed intact for so many years is a rare occurrence.

“Finding dinosaur skin is rare, but is more common for some types of dinosaurs than others. Duck-billed dinosaurs (hadrosaurs) are one group of dinosaurs where skin is most commonly preserved,” he told Newsweek.

“This skin is often preserved as a few small fragments or chunks that are associated with the skeleton,” Brown added.

Typically, paleontological digs result in the finding of bones more than any other biological component, as the bones will calcify and harden. Most times, the rest of the body decomposes or becomes subject to erosion.

“When we are really lucky, we find a skeleton which is nearly entirely covered in skin,” Brown said. “Over the past 120 years, several hadrosaurs with skin have been found in Dinosaur Provincial Park.”

Skin of Dinosaur Will Help ‘Fill in Gaps’ of Knowledge of Anatomy

The fact that there is still skin on the mummified dinosaur gives researchers a new perspective of the species that wouldn’t be possible with just the skeleton.

“Most dinosaur fossils are just the bones,” Brown explained. “You can learn a lot from bones, but there is still a lot of anatomy that is missing.”

The paleontologist stated that with preserved skin, “you can fill in the gaps in some of the details about the anatomy and lives of these animals.”

And it’s not just the specimen itself that the skin lends insight to. The mummified nature of the dinosaur can actually help researchers determine details about its relationship with other organisms.

“The skin can give us details about how the animal interacted with its environment and other dinosaur,” Brown said.