No longer are dinosaur fossils only the casts of bones you see strung together in museums, with illustrations depicting what they looked like.
Researchers say that it might have been washed away in a flood in what is now Western Canada, where the climate was once humid and breezy.
For five years scientists at the museum laboured over the hard rock encasing the dinosaur, with fossil preparator Mark Mitchel working for more than 17,000 to unveil the nodosaur's skin and bone.
"I couldn't believe my eyes - it was a dinosaur", Donald Henderson, the curator of dinosaurs at the museum, said Alberta Oil. When we first saw a find, we were convinced that we will have the plesiosaurus because it is more common marine reptile. Usually only bones and teeth are preserved. Some other dinosaur fossils have been found in flat "mummified" form.
Paleobiologist Jakob Vinther, from the University of Bristol, notes that he has "never seen anything like this" and that the fossil looks as though it "might have been walking around a couple of weeks ago" despite being over a hundred million years old.
The petrified dinosaur would have been approximately 18-feet long and 3,000 pounds when it roamed the earth.
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Unlike its cousins in the ankylosaur subgroup, the nodosaur lacked a bony club at the end of its tail, instead using armour plates, thick knobs and two 20-inch spikes along its armoured side for protection, according to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
They were a group of heavy herbivores, which used to walk on four legs, and somewhat resembled a cross between a lizard and a lion having the only difference of being covered in scales. "These guys were like four-footed tanks", dinosaur tracker Ray Stanford said in The Washington Post in the year 2012. The fossil that remains is incredibly detailed with remnants of skin still covering the creature's armor plates.
"The more I look at it, the more mind-boggling it becomes. I can count the scales on its sole". "We have a dinosaur as it would have been".
There, minerals quickly "infiltrated the skin and armour and cradled its back, ensuring that the dead nodosaur would keep its true-to-life form as eons' worth of rock piled atop it".
CT scans done by the National Geographic Society has revealed a little, as the rocks are very opaque.
"Even partially complete skeletons remain elusive", Smithsonian said in a report.
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