Rare dinosaur fossil discovered in Canadian oil sand
Suncor Energy workers Michel Gratton and Shawn Funk found this rare specimen while mining oil sand in northern Canada.
March 30th, 2011
11:42 AM ET

Rare dinosaur fossil discovered in Canadian oil sand

Workers at an oil sand site in Canada have found a 110 million-year-old fossil of a dinosaur previously unknown in that area, Alberta's Royal Tyrrell Museum announced.

Employees of Suncor Energy, the parent company of Sunoco and PetroCanada, stopped work last week near Fort McMurray, Alberta, when supervisor Michel Gratton and shovel operator Shawn Funk found a large lump of dirt with an unusual texture and diamond patterns.

They sent photos to the museum near Drumheller, 400 miles south, which dispatched a scientist and a technician to check it out.

They were expecting a marine reptile fossil, but were surprised when it turned out to be an ankylosaur, a squat, four-legged, vegetarian dinosaur that was covered with bony plates and had a tail like a club.

"We've never found a dinosaur in this location," said Dr. Donald Henderson, curator of dinosaurs at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, 85 miles northeast of Calgary. "Because the area was once a sea, most finds are invertebrates such as clams and ammonites. ...

"To find an ankylosaur is totally unexpected here," he said. "Finding one of these animals anywhere is a rare occurrence."

Royal Tyrrell scientists planned to return to the site this week to oversee the fossil's removal from the ground and take it back to the museum for study, museum spokeswoman Leanna Mohan said.

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Filed under: Animals • Canada • Dinosaurs • History • Mining • Science • World
soundoff (114 Responses)
  1. popeye

    ok jazz good night to you to sorry I will stay off here no need to get someone in trouble

    March 30, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jazz7

      thanks popeye, by the way that wasnt my guy , so till next
      @ fake jazz , your not that smart when all u can do is insult ppl , I will never again be addressing you , BYE

      March 31, 2011 at 4:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. jazzsucks

    360 is full circle.180 is a turn around.your still a dumb azz though. you make me want to puke like how you think you know everybody hear and act like its your stupid face book page.do you ever even read the topics or are you just waiting for some one to comment so you can chit chat ?

    March 30, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. popeye

    jim may be smart but put'n people down don't acomplish nothing

    March 30, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sollux Took

    Here is an answer that isn't just people complaining about/being idiots that think the planet is 5000 years old:
    Perhaps the animal was a precursor to aquatic mammals, like a fat, ugly sea lion. Looking at the animal: nevermind.
    Idea 2: small localization of geographical features that deteriorated over time, somehow hiding a tiny island? That's dumb. Like science cares what the internet says anyways.

    March 30, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. popeye

    But anyway

    March 30, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joe Blow

    Answer: tsunami.

    March 31, 2011 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  7. Joe Blow

    Hey, Popeye and Jazz7 would you two stop flooding this discussion with your BS. Your wasting everyones time who wants to read other peoples comments.

    March 31, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  8. Joe Blow

    O by the way. Did i mention Tsunami??? Cause' thats what happend

    March 31, 2011 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  9. James

    There was recently found in a coal mine, the fossil jawbone of a shark.... 700 feet underground. In Illinois, there is a coal mine where the overburden of limestone has fossils of trees, ferns, and other plants... Also hundreds of feet underground. In the example of the shark jawbone, if there were to be 1 foot per year of earth built up it would take 700 yrs for the shark to have been on the surface, swimming around. So, since we have historical records dating back several thousand years, this dinosaur shark was alive a hundred years before Columbus discovered the new world. I think you New world folks need to be careful and not drink the cool aid.

    April 12, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cedar Rapids

      And you are getting 1 foot per year build up in this area where the jaw bone was found from where?

      April 13, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. wspizzi

    Don't deny evolution until you have studied it thoroughly and understand it thoroughly. Until you do, you will NOT be authoritative.
    Don't deny the Bible until you have studied it thoroughly and understand it thoroughly. Until you do, you will NOT be authoritative.

    April 13, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  11. It's The Government's Fault

    Clearly this is a liberal attempt to stop drilling in Canada. It's a common misconception that dinosaurs actually existed. "Dinosaurs" were created by athiests in an attempt to validate the Earth's ago. These so called fossils are nothing more than alligator and crocodile parts that have been chemically altered by scientists and planted for people to find. I suppose next they'll try to tell us that men actually walked on the moon, that the world is round and that there is no man in the sky. Ridiculous.

    April 14, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  12. Artie2

    Dinosaurs = the first evolutionary project to go wrong and come to an abrubt end.
    (100 million years later.....)
    Mankind = the next evolutionary project to go wrong –

    What's next? Stay tuned over the next 100 million years and see for yourself.

    April 20, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
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