The 110-million-year-old nodosaur is the best-preserved fossil of its kind—and now the newly declared species has been named after the man who took six years to painstakingly extricate it.
A new study of the fossil also makes the controversial claim that the armored dinosaur had anti-predator camouflage.
About 110 million years ago in what’s now Alberta, Canada, a dinosaur resembling a 2,800-pound pineapple ended up dead in a river.
Today, that dinosaur is one of the best fossils of its kind ever found—and now, it has a name: Borealopelta mark mitchelli, a plant-eating, armored dinosaur called a nodosaur that lived during the Cretaceous period. After death, its carcass ended up back-first on the muddy floor of an ancient seaway, where its front half was preserved in 3-D with extraordinary detail.
Unearthed by accident in 2011 and unveiled at Alberta’s Royal Tyrrell Museum in May, the fossil immediately offered the world an unprecedented glimpse into the anatomy and life of armored dinosaurs.
“It’s a beautiful specimen,” says Victoria Arbour, a postdoctoral researcher at the Royal Ontario Museum who is studying another well-preserved armored dinosaur called Zuul crurivastator. “It’s great to have specimens like this one and Zuul that give us an idea of what these dinosaurs looked like when they were alive.”