by The Royal Tyrrell Museum
Palaeontologists from the Royal Tyrrell Museum believe the skeleton to be a Hypacrosaurus, a large hadrosaur (duck-billed dinosaur) that lived about 68 million years ago. Hadrosaurs roamed throughout western North America and measured up to twelve metres long.
Museum staff received a call from the Degner Construction Group on October 23 to investigate a fossil find. While digging a trench for a new housing development by Qualico Communities, Degner employees found a series of fossils about six metres below the surface.
“This tremendous find will give us even greater insight into the dinosaurs that lived in central Alberta,” said Heather Klimchuk, Minister of Alberta Culture. “Alberta’s ability to be successful in preserving and protecting valuable palaeontological resources depends on the cooperation of industry and the public. Degner Construction is to be commended for recognizing and taking the right steps to alert the Royal Tyrrell Museum.”
Together with Museum staff, the Degner crew used its large excavator to remove the soil, rock and other material above the fossil, allowing it to be secured and safely transported back to the museum on November 5. So far, a tail and hips are visible in the exposed portion of the fossil, and the skull has been identified. This is the second hadrosaur collected in Alberta in the space of a month. A discovery on October 1 at Spirit River, near Grande Prairie, made international news.
“This is an amazing and unique discovery for our city,” said Leduc Deputy Mayor David MacKenzie. “Leduc will now be acknowledged in the natural history of Alberta in a significant way and we’re pleased future generations of Albertans can benefit from this exciting discovery.”
The Leduc hadrosaur will be stored in the museum’s collections until it is prepared for further study. “It’s been an incredible year for dinosaur finds,” said Andrew Neuman, Executive Director of the Royal Tyrrell Museum. “This surge in fossil finds has supplemented our own work this field season due in part to increased awareness and diligence among industry and keen-eyed amateurs.”
Owned and operated by the Government of Alberta, the Royal Tyrrell Museum is a world-renowned scientific institution and Canada’s only museum dedicated to palaeontology. In 2013, the Royal Tyrrell Museum was highlighted in CNN’s list of 10 of the world’s best dinosaur museums. For more information visit www.tyrrellmuseum.com or call 403-823-7707 (dial 310-0000 for toll-free access in Alberta).
News and photo credit: Royal Tyrrell Museum