In 2011, the remains of a #Dinosaur dating back 110 million years were discovered at Suncor Millennium Mine in Alberta, Canada. This specimen was accidentally found by a heavy-equipment operator named Shawn Funk, and it was later sent to Royal Tyrrell Museum in Canada. Over the past five and half years, Mark Mitchell, a technician at the museum, has spent more than 7,000 hours removing rock and mud from the specimen, to reveal a spectacular fossilized dinosaur that looked like a statue. Researchers are now calling this specimen the "#Mona Lisa" of dinosaurs. It is so well preserved that its skin and soft tissues still cover the skeleton.

Excavation of the fossil

Shawn Funk, the machine operator who found this fossil, says he was digging in Millennium mine when he noticed a change in the color of the underlying rock.

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Every year, hundreds of fossils are discovered in Alberta, and Funk knew that there could be a fossil underneath the rock. Funk informed his supervisor, and they informed the staff at Royal Tyrrell Museum. Two days later, the site was visited by the museum staff, expecting to find the fossil of an ichthyosaur or a marine reptile. A closer examination revealed that it was something special and much bigger—a dinosaur. After two weeks of laborious work, the excavation team was able to isolate a single block containing the huge creature. A horrifying moment—captured on camera—came when a 15,000-pound-block collapsed during the lifting process. Luckily, the block broke in big pieces, all of which were sent to the museum.

This dinosaur fossil is complete with fully armored skin

Researchers who examined this specimen reveal that it is about 18-feet long and complete with fully armored skin.

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This dinosaur was a #Borealopelta dinosaur that exhibited countershading (a form of camouflage) to hide itself from predators. Brealopelta dinosaurs were members of the nodosaur family that faced predation stress from flesh-eating dinosaurs. Researchers also suggest that this dinosaur would have been over 1,300 kg in weight when alive.

Caleb Brown from the Royal Tyrrell Museum, who studied this animal in detail, says this fossil is perfect sample of how dinosaurs actually looked during the prehistoric period. The perfect condition of the specimen allowed researchers to document the shape and pattern of armor and scales across its body. Researchers were also able to infer the pigmentation pattern of the creature by analyzing the organic compounds present in the scales, which indicated that this dinosaur had reddish-brown skin.

The detailed findings of the study were published in the journal Nature.