In early October, a backhoe operator near Spirit River, Alberta was clearing the ground as part of a pipeline construction project when — surprise! — he stumbled on a massive dinosaur fossil embedded in the earth. Work stopped pretty much immediately, and experts from the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum and the Royal Tyrrell Museum arrived on the scene to scope out the new find.
The bones have now been removed to Drumheller, Alberta, where they're being analyzed. "The specimen was quite brittle and a lot of paleo glue was needed to keep the exposed specimen together," Mike Dooley, a representative of the Royal Tyrrell Museum, told Strombo.com. "For the most part the specimen is encased in the rock though."
Dooley said that scientists believe the fossils belong to a hadrosaur, or duck-billed dinosaur, although the exact species is not yet known. "They did identify some skull elements associated with the specimen so they should be able to eventually identify the species," he said. One unusual feature of the find is its location: "Typically we do not find Hadrosaur specimens that far north, so it leads to interesting questions regarding migration, their range along the northern interior seaway, or if this is a new species."
The fossil is about 10 metres long, and is believed to be nearly complete, although it will take careful work to extract the bones from the rock — a process that could take years.