Canadian Pipeline Diggers Discover Massive Dinosaur Fossil
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
An oil pipeline crew digging around in Canada stumbled upon a 100-foot-long fossilized dinosaur this week.
A backhoe operator discovered the skeleton when moving dirt to install a new pipeline. He inadvertently broke off a piece of the fossil thinking he was chipping off a section of rock. Art Wegner, speaking for the Acuren Group Inc, told Canadian media site CBC News that the operator stopped digging and that the work on the site was shut down as soon as the fossil was discovered.
Paleontologists from the Tyrell Museum and National Geographic showed up at the site on Wednesday to begin excavation of the dinosaur fossil, which was buried about five feet deep in the Saddle Hills area southwest of the town of Spirit River.
“As we walked around it, we saw this whole part of a tail of a dinosaur. To see something like that is pretty incredible,” Matthew Vavrek, a paleontologists who was sent out to the site to inspect it, told CNN. “The last time I’ve seen something like that was in a museum. I’ve never found something like this before.”
Vavrek said that this fossil was all in one piece, compared to most fossil finds where the bones are crushed and spread out over a large area. He told CNN that he has rarely ever heard of a find like this.
Workers will be helping out the paleontologists for the next few weeks to try and dig out the dinosaur fossil. However, one of the worries is that winter weather could halt the excavation because cold temperatures could freeze the bones to the ground.
The plan is to take the soil the fossils are buried in along with the fossil itself, carting everything off to a place where the paleontologists can slowly clean and prepare the specimen for study.
Paleontologists are still not sure what kind of dinosaur they have discovered. If it is a dinosaur that they are familiar with, it could take a few years to categorize it, but if it is something new, then it will likely take even longer.
Varek told CNN that he believes the specimen is from a mid-size dinosaur, or maybe even a little larger.