Mine workers discover dinosaur.

by CBC News:

A Suncor oilsands worker near Fort McMurray, Alta., has unearthed a rare dinosaur fossil that could be 110 million years old.

The find intrigued experts enough that the museum sent a scientist and a technician up to Fort McMurray two days later.

Curator Donald Henderson believes the completely intact dinosaur skeleton is the earliest dinosaur ever found in Alberta — a 110-million-year-old fossil of ankylosaur, a rare land dinosaur with bony plates of body armour.

Suncor supervisor Michel Gratton and shovel operator Shawn Funk sent photos of the fossil to the Royal Tyrell Museum. (Supplied)

Ankylosaur was a squat, plant-eating quadruped with powerful limbs and a club-like tail probably used for self-defence.

“Because the area was once a sea, most finds are invertebrates such as clams and ammonites,” he said. “Marine reptiles have been found in the area before, but even these are not common.

“The last giant reptile removed from this area was an ichthyosaur found 10 years ago. To find an ankylosaur is totally unexpected here. Finding one of these animals anywhere is a rare occurrence.”

Scientists will return to Fort McMurray next week to supervise the removal and transportation of the specimen to the museum for further study.

“The good news is that the fossil is in 3-D,” said Henderson. “The bad news is the rock is extremely hard. It’s harder than the bone and it’s going to take an awful lot of careful work to get it out.”

“Suncor and its staff deserve a big thank you for recognizing this as a fossil and reporting it to us as quickly as they did,” said Andrew Neuman, the museum’s executive director.

CBC News

Redditor timmytimtimshabadu explains:

The paleo-environment in which those rocks exist make it very unlikely that fossils would be preserved. The formation from which this fossil came is a fluvial/deltaic/estuarine otherwise, shallow marine. These conditions are terrible for preserving fossils as the waters in which these rocks were deposited were oxygen bearing and likely teaming with biodegraded bacteria. This is a rare specimen indeed. Most of the famous fossils in Alberta come from the badlands area, near drumhellar (where the famous museum is). This area was swampy, coaly, and the waters were stagnant and able to preserve the fossils.

These miners stumbled upon 100 million years of history and that my human friends, is a major dinosaur discovery win.