DRUMHELLER — Two decades after the fossils of a duck-billed dinosaur were discovered in Alberta’s Peace Country, scientists have announced the creature is part of a new species.
The hadrosaur was once a seven-metre long herbivore which lived during the late Cretaceous period about 70 million years ago.
A volunteer with the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Sue Marsden, spotted part of its skeleton along the Red Willow River banks back in 1989.
It is the first almost complete skeleton to ever be found in northern Alberta.
Crews with the Royal Tyrrell Museum continued the excavation of the dinosaur intermittently until 2003, with its skull proving to be a key component in identifying it.
After the excavation, the animal’s bones sat in storage for nearly a decade, though, before being rediscovered by researchers.
“This new species confirms our suspicions that we’re sitting on top of a virtual gold mine,” one of the primary researchers, Dr. Phil Bell, said in a release. “We’ve already discovered two new species in the last few years, the potential for more is outstanding.”
The other new species discovered in the Peace Region is the horned dinosaur. It was named Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai in 2008.
The newest species will be officially named in an upcoming scientific publication put out by the Royal Tyrrell Museum.