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Duck-billed dinosaur discovery airlifted to Tumbler Ridge

This rendering is of a 'Red Willow hadrosaur' head from northern Alberta, a separate species from the hadrosaurs, or duck-billed dinosaurs, that roamed southern Alberta. (Robin Sissons, Grande Prairie Regional College )

Listen to Andrew Kurjata interview paleontologist Lisa Buckley about her dino discovery on Daybreak North.

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It took several years to coordinate, but B.C.'s most complete dinosaur skeleton has a new home in Tumbler Ridge.

The plaster-wrapped fossilized bones of a hadrosaur, or duck-billed dinosaur, were recently airlifted from a dig site near the B.C.-Alberta border to the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre.

Lisa Buckley, curator and collections manager with the centre, said she and her team discovered the fossilized skeleton in 2009 -- the first hadrosaur find in B.C.

"Dinosaur finds in terms of skeletons in British Columbia are not that common. They're bordering on rare, to be honest."

Hadrosaurs, a family of distinctive-looking plant-eating dinosaurs, lived more than 65 million years ago.

"And they're the ones that had the really funky head gear, like the big long tubes extending back over the head, or the big frill running down the centre of the head," Buckley said.

But sadly, this duck-billed skeleton is missing that impressive feature.

"It does not have its head, no. And it's following a disturbingly frustrating trend with other duck-billed dinosaur skeletons. It's very common for their heads to be missing."

Nevertheless, the headless dinosaur is B.C.'s most complete dinosaur skeleton, and a major find.

It will be displayed at the museum in Tumbler Ridge.

Hadrosaur Lift.jpg
A Vancouver Island Helicopters pilot lifts 1,996 kilograms of plaster-wrapped dinosaur bones out of and excavation site near the B.C.-Alberta border. The hadrosaur skeleton, minus its missing its head, will be on display in Tumbler Ridge. (Photo courtesy Richard T. McCrea)

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