A hadrosaur fossil in Leduc

A hadrosaur fossil in Leduc

Construction crew finds fossilized dinosaur

It appears that you can’t dig a deep hole in Alberta without finding a duck-billed dinosaur.

It appears that you can’t dig a deep hole in Alberta without finding a duck-billed dinosaur.

For the second time in weeks, construction crews have discovered the fossilized remains of a hadrosaur, a plant-eating creature that stalked the Earth about 68 million years ago. The latest discovery happened in Leduc, south of Edmonton.

A crew helping to build a housing development found the fossils six metres below the surface and called the Royal Tyrrell Museum to report the find. The crew then helped museum staff carefully remove dirt and rock from the prehistoric buried treasure.

Museum curator Francois Therrien said this dinosaur was a teenager when it died and is about eight metres long. He said the fact that much of the skeleton was found intact makes it an important find — no bones about it.

“When you walk in the badlands of southern Alberta when you find dinosaur bones, nine times out of 10 it will be from a duck-billed dinosaur,” he said Wednesday.

“But in terms of finding a complete skeleton — all the bones connected the way they were in life — that is really a rare discovery.”

So far, the tail and hips of the beast are visible and the skull has been identified.

Last month a pipeline crew in northwestern Alberta uncovered the fossils of a larger and older hadrosaur, a dinosaur that was almost as common during the Cretaceous era as deer are today.

Hadrosaurs roamed over much of western North America and grew up to 12 metres long.

The fossils are to be stored at the museum in Drumheller, Alta., for further study. “It has been an incredible year for dinosaur finds,” said Andrew Neuman, executive director of the museum.

“This surge in fossil finds has supplemented are own work this field season due in part to increased awareness and diligence among industry and keen-eyed amateurs.”

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