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. aeropagus

    @paul: Are you serious? I'm speechless...

    March 30, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Targeted Individual

    Watch a Pre-January 8th copy of Inception. Listen closely when the actors say imagine, reality, safe, and envelope, or point pistols. You'll hear the words, Loughner, offin' her, part of the word Giffords, and much more. Some say they hear, do it.

    March 30, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ThomasD

    Poor misguided souls. I absolutely believe in a higher power. But even the generations spelled out clearly in the bible span far more than just a few thousand years.

    March 30, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. waheid

    Here's a real myth for you: The Earth is inhabited by intelligent life.

    March 30, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jim L.


    My guess is that you are not serious, but living in Tennessee – perhaps you are. It may seem incredulous to hear 110 m.y.a, in fact it is. Our scope of being is limited to at best 75 years on average, and perhaps we can comprehend the essence of a century...the most intelligent among, well maybe two centuries. I'm not going to assure the date is right, or even close. I would encourage you to take some college science courses (community colleges are excellent, and affordable for rudimentary science and math courses) in archeology, chemistry, and geology. Those studies should evince the methodologies of carbon-dating, and relative dating (using inference). Books don't seem to cut it when it comes you your level of inquiry – courses are best! Then, once informed, you'll see these findings will either fit existing hypotheses, or we will be forced to create new ones. When questioning religion and theology, I decided to undertake a bachelors and a masters in the subjects (respectively) from our nation's best schools. It wasn't easy, or comfortable, but you know not much worth while ever is. Ultimately you'll find that when somebody equates scientific findings and theories as liberal or Darwinist conspiracies that action has the same merit as another equating calls to religious sensibilities, or for redemptive love as a call to arms for neo-crusades or inquisitions of all scientists. Both are equally wrong, and patently absurd

    March 30, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Benny

      I applaud you Jim L. Well put.

      March 30, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fair Trade Girl

      Jim L,

      Your knowledge is impressive. You are the only person giving a real argument. Although I completely agree with you, and respect the time and energy you've dedicated to your education, your involvement seems pointless. These people strongly believe in what they are saying and if they are over 25 (which I'm sure they are) there isn't much you, or anyone else, can do to change that.

      Personally though, I love Jim L. – he rocks! 🙂

      March 30, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. really?

    I say 99 million years old. These scientists way over estimated

    March 30, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • TeaofChai

      Sorry, but... are you a scientist? slight, slight chance.
      have you studied the fossil? All answers point to no.
      "Really?" yourself.

      April 4, 2011 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Memitim

      Humor is lost on some people...

      April 13, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. SYLVI


    March 30, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. popeye

    dumb dumb

    March 30, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. popeye

    @Frank Your opinions stank!And so doe's your partner whos a $kank! That left you cause your hotdog shrank!When it comes to thought you draw a blank! So go to Libya and lay in front of a tank! SO before you pick on the little guy stop and try to think!

    March 30, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jazz7

      ROLF , that was too good, you do need to start writing.

      March 30, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. sts

    you hear it all

    March 30, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. sts

    only on cnn

    March 30, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jazz7

    Who's STS?

    March 30, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. popeye

    Couldn't write what I wanted to the other guy it never would go through.

    March 30, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jazz7

    I had problems to when i was talking to u earlier

    March 30, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. popeye

    my alter ego

    March 30, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
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