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110 million year old Armoured Dinosaur 'Nodosaur' BEST preserved ever found in Alberta

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A fossil so well preserved that it looks like a statue is being unveiled today at a museum in Canada. The 110 million-year-old nodosaur fossil, dubbed the 'four legged tank' was discovered by a miner in a find so rare, it's being described as like winning the lottery'. The armoured plant-eater is the best preserved fossil of its kind ever found, according to reports in National Geographic. It was found by Shawn Funk, when he was digging at the Millenium Mine near Fort McMurray in northern Alberta, Canada, on March 21, 2011. He hit something which seemed out of place from the surrounding rock, and decided to take a closer look. The fossil he uncovered was sent to the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology. They spent the next six years working on uncovering the beast within the 2,500-pound (1,100 kg) lump of earth. According to the museum, it is the best preserved armoured dinosaur in the world, including skin and armour, and is complete from the snout to hips. It took over 7,000 hours to prepare this specimen for research and display. After all that hard work, the finished result is now ready to be unveiled. And it reveals how the ancient creature used scaly armour to defend itself. Speaking to National Geographic, paleobiologist Jakob Vinther, from the University of Bristol, said: '[It] might have been walking around a couple of weeks ago. The fossil is a newfound species of nodosaur, which lived midway through the Cretaceous period, between 110 million and 112 million years ago. The creatures were around 18 feet (five metres) long on average, and weighted up to 3,000 pounds (1,300 kg). It featured two 20-inch-long spikes which protruded from its shoulders. The researchers believe that the this armored plant-eater lumbered through what is now western Canada, until a flooded river swept it into open sea. But the dinosaur's undersea burial preserved its armor in exquisite detail. The fossilised remains of this particular specimen are so well preserved that remnants of skin still cover bumpy armour plates along the dinosaur's skull. As Michael Greshko wrote for National Geographic, such level of preservation 'is a rare as winning the lottery.' 'The more I look at it, the more mind-boggling it becomes. 'Fossilized remnants of skin still cover the bumpy armor plates dotting the animal's skull. 'Its right forefoot lies by its side, its five digits splayed upward. 'I can count the scales on its sole. ' Caleb Brown, a postdoctoral researcher at the museum, told the writer 'We don't just have a skeleton. 'We have a dinosaur as it would have been.' The researchers say it may even have more to give. Its skeleton, for example, remains mostly obscured in skin and armor. However, reaching the dinosaur’s bones would require destroying its outer layers. CT scans funded by the National Geographic Society have revealed little, as the rock remains stubbornly opaque. The exhibit will now form part of The Royal Tyrrell Museum’s new exhibit, Grounds for Discovery, in Drumheller, Alberta. Music: "Cambodian Odyssey" Kevin MacLeod ()Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

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