Rare Baby Dinosaur Skeleton Unearthed In Canada - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

COOL PHOTOS: Rare Baby Dinosaur Skeleton Unearthed In Canada

Posted: Updated:
This tiny, intact skeleton of a baby rhinoceroslike dinosaur was unearthed in Canada. This tiny, intact skeleton of a baby rhinoceroslike dinosaur was unearthed in Canada.

NBCNEWS.COM - The tiny, intact skeleton of a baby rhinoceroslike dinosaur has been unearthed in Canada.

The toddler was just 3 years old and 5 feet (1.5 meters) long when it wandered into a river near Alberta, Canada, and drowned about 70 million years ago. The beast was so well-preserved that some of its skin left impressions in the nearby rock.

The fossil is the smallest intact skeleton ever found from a group of horned, plant-eating dinosaurs known as ceratopsids, a group that includes the iconic Triceratops.

Finding intact baby dinosaurs is incredibly rare.

"The big ones just preserve better: They don't get eaten, they don't get destroyed by animals," said study co-author Philip Currie, a paleobiologist at the University of Alberta. "You always hope you're going to find something small and that it will turn out to be a dinosaur."

Paleontologists had unearthed a few individual bones from smaller ceratopsids in the past. But without intact juvenile skeletons, such bones aren't very useful, as scientists don't really know how each bone changes during each stage of the animals' lives, Currie said.

The team was bone-hunting in Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta when Currie came upon what looked like a turtle shell sticking out from a hillside. Upon closer inspection, the fossil turned out to be a frill, the bony decorative headgear that surrounds the back of the head in ceratopsids.

When the team excavated, they found the fossilized skeleton of a tiny dinosaur they identified as a Chasmosaurus belli, a species commonly found in the area.

Drowning victim
Amazingly, almost the entire skeleton was intact, although sometime in the past, a sinkhole had opened up below the beast and the forelimbs had fallen away into an abyss. The fossil was so well-preserved that the tiny, rosettelike pattern on its skin was imprinted in the rock below the dinosaur.

Based on its size, the team estimates the dinosaur was about 3 years old — just out of infancy — when it perished. (Like humans, these dinosaurs typically take about 20 years to reach maturity, at which point they have 6.5-foot-long (2 meters) skulls and weigh 3 to 4 tons.)

The fossil was found in sediments associated with watery environments and didn't have any bite marks or trace of injury, so it's likely the dino toddler likely drowned.

"I think it may have just gotten trapped out of its league in terms of water current," Currie told LiveScience.

Soon after, the baby dinosaur was buried by sediments and left untouched for millions of years.

Growth rates
Aside from being cute, the new fossil helps paleontologists understand how these plant-eating dinosaurs grew. Paleontologists can then better identify and age the myriad individual bones from juveniles discovered over the years.

Already, the team has learned that Chasmosaur juvenile frills look different from those on adults, and that limb proportions don't change much as they grow. Predatory theropods such as Tyrannosaurus rex have disproportionately long limbs as juveniles, presumably to keep up with the adults in the pack.

By contrast, "in Chasmosaurians, the proportions are essentially the same, which probably means the adults were probably never moving that fast," Currie said. "There was never priority for these animals to run to keep up with the adults."

HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • National NewsMore>>

  • Mad Minute stories from Friday, May 26th

    Mad Minute stories from Friday, May 26th

    Saturday, May 27 2017 2:00 AM EDT2017-05-27 06:00:13 GMT

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Friday, May 26th.

    More >>

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Friday, May 26th.

    More >>
  • $10,000 bill for getting car stuck in newly poured concrete

    $10,000 bill for getting car stuck in newly poured concrete

    Saturday, May 27 2017 1:02 AM EDT2017-05-27 05:02:32 GMT
    (Mike Palm, The City of Lincoln Public Works and Utilities Department via AP)(Mike Palm, The City of Lincoln Public Works and Utilities Department via AP)

    LINCOLN, Neb,. (AP) - A driver could be facing a $10,000 bill after he plowed into newly poured concrete in Lincoln, Nebraska, and became stuck.      The accident occurred Wednesday on a portion of a road repair project in the state capital. Police spokeswoman Angela Sands said Friday that police won't cite the driver, 19-year-old Shadrach Yasiah. A police incident report says it wasn't obvious that the concrete wasn't dry and that Yasiah 

    More >>

    LINCOLN, Neb,. (AP) - A driver could be facing a $10,000 bill after he plowed into newly poured concrete in Lincoln, Nebraska, and became stuck.      The accident occurred Wednesday on a portion of a road repair project in the state capital. Police spokeswoman Angela Sands said Friday that police won't cite the driver, 19-year-old Shadrach Yasiah. A police incident report says it wasn't obvious that the concrete wasn't dry and that Yasiah 

    More >>
  • Russian bankers sue BuzzFeed over unverified Trump dossier

    Russian bankers sue BuzzFeed over unverified Trump dossier

    Friday, May 26 2017 9:02 PM EDT2017-05-27 01:02:03 GMT

    NEW YORK (AP) - The owners of a Russian bank are suing BuzzFeed for publishing an uncorroborated dossier that alleged they were part of a Russian scheme to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and German Khan of Alfa Bank filed the defamation lawsuit Friday in Manhattan. They are seeking unspecified damages from BuzzFeed, editor-in-chief Ben Smith, reporter Ken Bensinger and editors Miriam Elder and Mark Schoofs. The ...

    More >>

    NEW YORK (AP) - The owners of a Russian bank are suing BuzzFeed for publishing an uncorroborated dossier that alleged they were part of a Russian scheme to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Mikhail Fridman, Petr Aven and German Khan of Alfa Bank filed the defamation lawsuit Friday in Manhattan. They are seeking unspecified damages from BuzzFeed, editor-in-chief Ben Smith, reporter Ken Bensinger and editors Miriam Elder and Mark Schoofs. The ...

    More >>
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Spokane man honors the fallen with flowers

    Spokane man honors the fallen with flowers

    Saturday, May 27 2017 10:15 PM EDT2017-05-28 02:15:37 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Thousands of flags line Memorial Cemetery this weekend to honor those who died serving our country "I really feel that doing my little part... For instance by putting flowers on veterans I never met or known, is my way thanking them," said Mike Cavanaugh. Mike has been doing this for over 30 years. Going to graves of veteran's he has never met.

    More >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Thousands of flags line Memorial Cemetery this weekend to honor those who died serving our country "I really feel that doing my little part... For instance by putting flowers on veterans I never met or known, is my way thanking them," said Mike Cavanaugh. Mike has been doing this for over 30 years. Going to graves of veteran's he has never met.

    More >>
  • Counterfeit cash getting more advanced in Spokane

    Counterfeit cash getting more advanced in Spokane

    Saturday, May 27 2017 10:05 PM EDT2017-05-28 02:05:42 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - We've told you of counterfeit money being used to buy Girl Scout cookies, and movie money used at a gas station. Now a Spokane bank teller tells KHQ some counterfeiters are getting more advanced with their forgeries. "The first time it came to us as a local business who received two of them and they were just making a regular deposit," she said.

    More >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - We've told you of counterfeit money being used to buy Girl Scout cookies, and movie money used at a gas station. Now a Spokane bank teller tells KHQ some counterfeiters are getting more advanced with their forgeries. "The first time it came to us as a local business who received two of them and they were just making a regular deposit," she said.

    More >>
  • Emergency crews pull man from river in Spokane Valley

    Emergency crews pull man from river in Spokane Valley

    Saturday, May 27 2017 8:48 PM EDT2017-05-28 00:48:07 GMT

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Emergency rescue crews pulled a man from the Spokane River in the middle of training to do that exact thing. The Spokane Valley Fire Department reports that a man jumped from the Trent bridge just east of N. Pines Rd. into the Spokane River. The SVFD Special Operations team just happened to already be in the area conducting swift water training at the time and were able to quickly respond with Spokane County Sheriff's Deputies who were also near by.

    More >>

    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Emergency rescue crews pulled a man from the Spokane River in the middle of training to do that exact thing. The Spokane Valley Fire Department reports that a man jumped from the Trent bridge just east of N. Pines Rd. into the Spokane River. The SVFD Special Operations team just happened to already be in the area conducting swift water training at the time and were able to quickly respond with Spokane County Sheriff's Deputies who were also near by.

    .

    More >>