This is a big day for some scientists at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology.
Earlier this year the museum showed off the remains of an armoured dinosaur recovered from the oil sands near Fort McMurray. Now, the first scientific paper on the new find has been published in the journal Current Biology.
"Most dinosaurs we just know from the bones and we have to use those bones to infer what the animal looked like and how it behaved and how these things evolved," explained Dr. Caleb Brown, who co-authored the report with the Tyrrell's Dr. Don Henderson and others. "In this case we have a lot more than just the bones: we have all the skin, we have some stomach contents, we have the keratinous or horny sheaths from all the body armour."
Along with a description of the nodosaur, a type of ankylosaur without a tail club, the paper gives the new dinosaur a name, Borealopelta markmitchelli.
"Borealopelta means northern shield: it came from north of Fort McMurray and the shield refers to all the plate like bones that are embedded in its skin," outlined Brown. "Markmitchelli honours the preparator, who basically spent five and a half years of his life working on this particular fossil, getting it ready for research and display."
"The first paper that comes out just kind of skims the first cream, the very basic research on it," he cautioned. "We'll continue researching it and I'm sure there are other scientists that will want to come and see it as well, so I think this thing will be researched for many years."
The paper's official title is Brown et al., An Exceptionally Preserved Three-Dimensional Armored Dinosaur Reveals Insights into Coloration and Cretaceous Predator-Prey Dynamics, Current Biology (2017), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2017.06.071