Animals, News, Science

Pipeline Worker Finds Massive Hydrosaur Skeleton

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Diagram of different types of Hadrosaurs. Image: en.wikipedia
Diagram of different types of Hadrosaurs. Image: en.wikipedia

A massive dinosaur fossil has been unearthed in Alberta.

But it wasn’t an expedition of paleontologists (dinosaur scientists) who found it.

It was a pipeline worker.

A man was using a backhoe (a special kind of truck with a digger claw) to move some earth for a pipeline that was being installed near Spirit River, Alberta. The worker hit something he thought was a rock.

He laid the piece of “rock” to one side, and kept digging, according to CBC News.

But it wasn’t rock at all. It was a huge fossilized skeleton—a tail, to be precise.

It was about two metres long.

The worker stopped digging and called in some experts.

Paleontologists are now working to uncover the rest of the fossil.

The entire fossil is expected to be about 10 metres long, which is very big for a fossil in one piece.

Alberta is well known for its fossil finds. There are “tons” of fossils there, Dan Riskin, co-host of the TV show Daily Planet, said in a CTV newscast.

He put the find in perspective: “Normally paleontologists are jumping up and down because they have a tooth. This is a two-metre long section of tail from a hadrosaur with tendons attached! I mean, it’s just unreal how beautiful this is. It’s very rare.”

Riskin pointed out that this unique find is in northern Alberta. Most of the dinosaur finds in Alberta are in southern Alberta. Scientists hope that this may mean there will lots of fossils to be found in northern Alberta as well.

Paleontologists are now carefully unearthing the rest of the fossil, which is still under about a metre and a half of dirt.

Although the scientists won’t be using backhoes to do the careful work, the oil company has assigned some of its workers to help the scientists.

Although the fossil has been identified as a hadrosaur, scientists won’t know which one of the many types of hadrosaur it is until they find the head.

Hadrosaurs are known as “duck-billed dinosaurs” because their head looks similar to that of a modern day duck. They were herbivores that lived during the Cretaceous Period.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
When digging a pipeline, one of the construction workers stumbled upon the fossil of a hydrosaur.

What is a fossil? How are fossils formed? Research these questions and use the answers to explain how you think the hydrosaur became a fossil.

Reading Prompt: Making Inferences/Interpreting Texts
The diagram in this article shows images of different types of hydrosaurs. Based on the information in the article, what do you think the hydrosaur in Alberta looked like? Which drawing do you think it would be most similar to and why?

Develop interpretations about texts using stated and implied ideas to support their interpretations (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Develop and explain interpretations of increasingly complex or difficult texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretations (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Grammar Feature: Suffix
A suffix is a group of letters that is added to a word to change its meaning.

For example, a palaeontologist is a person who studies fossils. Paleontology is the study of fossils. The word ‘palaeontologist’ is created using the suffix ‘ist’. This suffix transforms the word from meaning ‘the study of fossils’ to ‘the person who study fossils’.

Add a suffix to the following words and explain how the meaning changed:
1. under
2. encourage
3. manage
4. rebel