New studies which have been made on a discovered fossil have found out that it was a new species of dinosaur. The fossil was found in Alberta, Canada and it resembled a pineapple at around 2,800 pounds. The dinosaur might have walked that territory and died in a river.
This fossil is one of the best and intact that has ever been found and it has a name already: Borealopeltamarkmitchelli, a nodosaur (armored dinosaur) which fed on plants and lived in the Cretacic. The dead dinosaur died on an ancient seaway floor and his front part of the body was preserved in detail.
2011 is the year when the dinosaur was revealed by accident and later it got to Alberta’s Royal Tyrrell Museum, showing the world part of the anatomy of nodosaurs.
This discovery is appreciated by researchers who are happy to learn more about the way dinosaurs looked when they were still alive.
Scientists Are in Awe
The story started with a heavy equipment operator, Shawn Funk, who found out the fossil in a mine, in northern Alberta. The fossil was then sent to the preparation lab in Royal Tyrrell Museum, where Mark Mitchell spent a great time – around 7,000 hours in six years – cleaning away the rock that surrounded it. Cleaning the skull took him 8 months.
Mark Mitchell’s Northern Shield
The preparator of the fossil, Mark Mitchell, has been rewarded with having the dinosaur called Borealopeltamarkmitchelli, meaning Mark Mitchell’s Northern Shield. The dinosaur is a new genus and species of nodosaur and needed a name.
Mitchel said that when he heard of the fossil’s name, he put his “hands up in the air and cheered”.
The Camouflaging Nodosaur
Another hint that was discovered after studies, was that Borealopeltamarkmitchelli had a coloration found in chemicals from its skin that showed he had red-brown pigment. But that pigment wasn’t evenly spread on his entire skin, his underbelly lacked pigment, making it look lighter. This result means that the two tone color nodosaur could camouflage itself by looking flat and hard to spot by the predators.
Taking into consideration that it was quite a big dinosaur and needed to be hidden, unlike big animals from our times – the rhinoceroses, imagine its predators were very fierce.
Not Enough Evidence
Other experts think that this claim regarding pigmentation doesn’t have enough evidence and is full of issues. A researcher at Drexel University, Dr. Alison Moyer, argues that the remains on the fossil might have changed over time on a chemical level and the color could have changed too in time.
Another expert, Mary Schweitzer, a paleontologist from North Carolina State University, agrees with Moyer that their data is not enough to support their conclusions.
Vinther, on the other hand stated that he didn’t find any chemical compound in the rock and sediments that surrounded the fossil, showing that the pigmentation came from the fossil and not the sediments that surrounded it. The pigmentation was coming from the putative skin, highly concentrated.
Johan Lindgren from Lund University says that it’s a possibility that the pigmentphoemelanin associated with those compounds that were found on the fossil might come from inside the dinosaur or from the process of fossilization. He adds that we know little of how animals preserve their soft tissues after fossilization.
Healthy Debates Improve Research
Don Henderson is excited at the sight of debates provoked by the new nodosaur and hopes they will carry on for years, helping experts and researchers conduct studies with all techniques available.
Don Henderson added that the nodosaur’s fossil is not hidden in “someone’s living room”, but it is in a safe place. Borealopeltamarkmitchelli is held in a museum and is available to be studied by researchers so that they will discover exceptional information on Cretacic life.