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, February 23rd

    Mad Minute stories from Friday, February 23rd

    Saturday, February 24 2018 1:00 AM EST2018-02-24 06:00:23 GMT

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Friday, February 23rd.

    More >>

    Here are the extended versions of the KHQ Local News 11 at 11 Mad Minute stories from Friday, February 23rd.

    More >>
  • Two kids try 'tall man' trick to sneak into 'Black Panther' movie

    Two kids try 'tall man' trick to sneak into 'Black Panther' movie

    Saturday, February 24 2018 12:46 AM EST2018-02-24 05:46:09 GMT
    Pillsbury @stevelikescupsPillsbury @stevelikescups
    Pillsbury @stevelikescupsPillsbury @stevelikescups

    CARSON, Ca. - Two kids eager to see Marvel's "Black Panther" reached into their creative pockets to try and receive a discounted price for admission last weekend, and quickly became a viral sensation. Twitter user Pillsbury posted a video Friday showing himself and another friend disguised as a "tall man" — the disguise where two children stand on top of one another in a large trench coat with some sort of hat — at a movie theater. Their

    More >>

    CARSON, Ca. - Two kids eager to see Marvel's "Black Panther" reached into their creative pockets to try and receive a discounted price for admission last weekend, and quickly became a viral sensation. Twitter user Pillsbury posted a video Friday showing himself and another friend disguised as a "tall man" — the disguise where two children stand on top of one another in a large trench coat with some sort of hat — at a movie theater. Their

    More >>
  • Liquor store clerks shoot armed robbery suspect, fight over gun

    Liquor store clerks shoot armed robbery suspect, fight over gun

    Saturday, February 24 2018 12:27 AM EST2018-02-24 05:27:46 GMT

    TULSA, Okla. - The owner of an Oklahoma liquor store has released graphic surveillance video showing a violent run-in with an armed robber.  KTUL reports that police responded to Forest Acres Liquor Store in Tulsa Thursday evening after the clerk called 911, saying they shot the suspect several times. The suspect took off before officers arrived, but he later showed up at a nearby hospital.  Police identified the suspect as Tyrone Lee, and 

    More >>

    TULSA, Okla. - The owner of an Oklahoma liquor store has released graphic surveillance video showing a violent run-in with an armed robber.  KTUL reports that police responded to Forest Acres Liquor Store in Tulsa Thursday evening after the clerk called 911, saying they shot the suspect several times. The suspect took off before officers arrived, but he later showed up at a nearby hospital.  Police identified the suspect as Tyrone Lee, and 

    More >>
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Trump talks new gun measures, gun owners talk ‘betrayal’

    Trump talks new gun measures, gun owners talk ‘betrayal’

    Saturday, February 24 2018 4:38 AM EST2018-02-24 09:38:32 GMT

    WASHINGTON (AP) - As President Donald Trump talked this week about banning “bump stocks” and curbing young people’s access to guns, the gun owners and advocates who helped propel his political rise talked about desertion and betrayal.

    More >>

    WASHINGTON (AP) - As President Donald Trump talked this week about banning “bump stocks” and curbing young people’s access to guns, the gun owners and advocates who helped propel his political rise talked about desertion and betrayal.

    More >>
  • US wins Olympic gold in men’s curling

    US wins Olympic gold in men’s curling

    Saturday, February 24 2018 4:31 AM EST2018-02-24 09:31:40 GMT

    PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) - The American men have won the Olympic gold medal in curling in a stunning and decisive upset of Sweden. John Shuster skipped the United States to a 10-7 victory on Saturday for only the second curling medal in U.S. history. Shuster was part of the other one, too, as the lead thrower on Pete Fenson’s bronze-winning team in Turin in 2006.

    More >>

    PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) - The American men have won the Olympic gold medal in curling in a stunning and decisive upset of Sweden. John Shuster skipped the United States to a 10-7 victory on Saturday for only the second curling medal in U.S. history. Shuster was part of the other one, too, as the lead thrower on Pete Fenson’s bronze-winning team in Turin in 2006.

    More >>
  • One dead, one injured in crash on Highway 395 near Deer Park

    One dead, one injured in crash on Highway 395 near Deer Park

    Saturday, February 24 2018 1:33 AM EST2018-02-24 06:33:14 GMT

    DEER PARK, Wash. - Washington State Patrol is investigating a crash on Highway 395 near Deer Park. WSP officials said they were working to rescue two people who were trapped as a result of the crash Friday evening. Troopers said two cars were involved and there are serious injuries.  Highway 395 is blocked in both directions. Traffic is being divert southbound at Owens and northbound at Burrows.  Avoid the area if possible. 

    More >>

    DEER PARK, Wash. - Washington State Patrol is investigating a crash on Highway 395 near Deer Park. WSP officials said they were working to rescue two people who were trapped as a result of the crash Friday evening. Troopers said two cars were involved and there are serious injuries.  Highway 395 is blocked in both directions. Traffic is being divert southbound at Owens and northbound at Burrows.  Avoid the area if possible. 

    More >>