Incredible dinosaur fossil discovered by Alberta pipeline workers

A team of oil pipeline workers digging at a site near Spirit River, Alberta have unearthed an incredible find — a roughly 10-metre-long fossilized dinosaur tail.

"What we have is a totally composed tail," Brian Brake, the executive director of the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, told the Edmonton Journal on Wednesday. "It's beautiful."

According to CBC News, the fossil was discovered on Tuesday, by a backhoe operator that accidentally broke a piece of the fossil off while he was digging in the Saddle Hills area, southwest of Spirit River. Apparently, he thought it was a rock, but noticed the rest of the fossil when he was moving the piece out of the way.

Work immediately stopped on the site until someone could be brought in to examine the fossil. The oil company reported the find to the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, who in turn called the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller — the agency is responsible for recovering fossils in Alberta. According to CBC News, both the Tyrrell Museum and National Geographic have paleontologists at the site now, and they'll soon be joined by Dr. Matthew Vavrek, who is the lead paleontologist for the Pipestone Creek Dinosaur Initiative.

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Although many sources are reporting this find as being 30-metres long, just from the image and using the worker for scale, it's clear that the fossil much shorter than that. Also, there's some speculation that it's the fossilized tail of a hadrosaur — a plant-eating dinosaur that lived in the Alberta area roughly 65 million years ago. Responding by email, Brian Brake confirmed that 'feet' had been switched to 'metres' somewhere along the line, but the details of the exact length of the fossil and what species it came from have yet to be determined. Further updates will come in from the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

 

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