​New dinosaur species found at Suncor oilsands mine on display at Tyrrell

The nodosaur found at Suncor's Millennium oilsands mine. Image: Government of Alberta

The best-preserved armoured dinosaur ever found—and the oldest dinosaur known in Alberta—is the centrepiece of a new exhibit at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller.

The dinosaur was discovered at Suncor Energy’s Millennium oilsands mine in 2011.

“A Suncor employee spotted something unusual while excavating in the mine. Little did he know that this would turn out to be one of the most significant dinosaur discoveries in the world,” the Government of Alberta said in a statement.

The fossil is of a new species of nodosaur (armoured dinosaur), and is estimated to be approximately 112 million years old.

It has undergone preparation at the museum since being found, and all the pieces have now been put together for the first time.

The exhibit highlights some of the most significant fossils that have been discovered through industrial work.

“Thousands of cubic metres of soil, gravel, and bedrock are excavated in Alberta every year through road construction, urban development, mining and other industrial activity. When fossils are exposed during these activities, Royal Tyrrell Museum scientists and industrial workers cooperate to safely excavate and protect Alberta’s fossils for scientific study and display,” the province said.

Other “exceptional” finds highlighted in the exhibit include a new genus and species of a pantodont (a rare early mammal) found during road construction near Red Deer, and a mosasaur found at the Korite Mine in southern Alberta whose spectacular preservation sheds light on marine reptile behaviour.