It’s the ultimate cold case. A Canadian mine operator working in the Alberta oil sands hits a hard object covered with strange spots. It turns out to be a perfectly preserved corpse that’s been buried for 110 million years.
The discovery is a completely intact armoured dinosaur, the fossil of a brand new species to science. This is no collection of dry bones. It’s a truly extraordinary find: an in-tact dinosaur that lived during the mid-Cretaceous period. It looks as if it was walking around yesterday before being turned to stone.
Borealopelta markmitchelli, as this species would later be named, is in pristine condition. After six years of painstaking work to chisel it from its cement-like tomb, the details of its bony armour and skin can be seen in incredible detail.
Paleontologists at Alberta’s Royal Tyrrell Museum have been using forensics to unlock its secrets: where did it come from? Why was it found upside down, hundreds of kilometres from land in what was once an inland sea? How did it die and why was it so perfectly fossilized in its full, 3D glory? As Don Henderson, curator of dinosaurs at the museum, points out — paleontologists aren’t like forensic detectives, they are forensic detectives.
Dinosaur Cold Case follows the evidence as scientists piece together the prehistoric clues of Borealopelta’s life and death. Ancient fossilized footprints, found elsewhere in Alberta, offer insights to its speed and gait; its stomach contents are analyzed to identify Borealopelta’s last meal and cutting-edge technology reveals clues to the dinosaur’s original colouring.
Key predator suspects are identified and bite forces are simulated in a laboratory to help assess whether the dinosaur’s impressive armour could withstand a crushing attack from one of them.
Face to face with a perfectly preserved dinosaur that looks like it was alive yesterday
100 million years ago, Alberta was a giant sea, surrounded by tropical forests
"Destroyer of shins" — a newly discovered dinosaur may have used its armour for more than defence
Sexing a fossil that's millions of years old
Paleontologists paint a picture of Borealopelta’s world: a warm, humid, semi-tropical land near an inland sea that eventually became the great plains of North America.
While almost all living creatures decay without a trace, Borealopelta’s rare preservation is a puzzle in itself. What extraordinary events led to this animal becoming fossilized in such exquisite detail? The answer will help scientists formulate a theory about how Borealopelta died and came to rest, buried beneath a vast sea.
In Dinosaur Cold Case, scientists are just beginning to solve these mysteries as they stare across eons at a once living, breathing animal, and come face-to-face with a 110-million-year-old, real-life dinosaur.
THE NATURE OF THINGS with David Suzuki
DINOSAUR COLD CASE
JENYPHER FISHER, CCE
Director of Photography
Camera / Gaffer
Original Music Composed by
GFX Motion Designers
Post Production Supervisors
LARRY DI STEFANO
Assistant Editor / Online Editor
LARRY DI STEFANO
Stock Footage & Stills
COLORADO PLATEAU GEOSYSTEMS INC.
JASON WOODHEAD/ FLICKR
ALBERTA CULTURE AND TOURISM
ALBERTA ENVIRONMENT AND PARKS
ANTHONY BEESON & MATTHIAS GEIGER, AND COLLECTA GLOBAL LIMITED
SEAMUS BLACKLEY AND PACIFIC LIGHT & HOLOGRAM INC.
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT, PRICEFIELD OFFICE, UTAH
THE ROYAL TYRRELL MUSEUM OF PALEONTOLOGY
FOR OMNIFILM ENTERTAINMENT
Head of Production
Chief Financial Officer
Head of Production Finance
Head of Business Affairs
Business Affairs Executive Consultant
For the CBC
General Manager, Programming
Executive Director, Unscripted Content
Senior Director, Documentary
Senior Director of Production, Unscripted Content
Executive in Charge of Production
Produced in Association with Smithsonian Networks
Produced with the Participation of
The Canadian Film or Video
Production Tax Credit
The Province of British Columbia
Film Incentive BC
Produced with the cooperation of the
Canadian Federation of Musicians
The Nature of Things
with David Suzuki
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
©2020 Nodosaur Productions Ltd.
All Rights Reserved
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