Two anglers fishing in Alberta’s Castle River may have recently made the catch of their lifetimes. According to the National Post, a father and son made the discovery in August when they came across a fossil of a dinosaur’s skull, neck, and chest while fishing near the waterway. The pair then immediately contacted the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, which sent employees to retrieve the 2,800-pound boulder containing the fossils last month.
“It is rather surprising that any part of dinosaur fossil could survive being tumbled in a river full of cobbles and boulders,” Donald Henderson, Curator of Dinosaurs at the museum, wrote on his blog.
You can see a video of the fossil being airlifted from the river below:
It is believed that the fossil was unearthed by the 2013 floods in the area, which have dredged up a treasure trove of significant finds. However, experts were surprised by the discovery since no dinosaur fossils had ever been recovered from the area before. Furthermore, they speculate that the fossil could belong to an entirely new species of dinosaur altogether.
“Based on the eroded and exposed teeth, as well as its size, we are confident that it is a hadrosaurian dinosaur,” Henderson explained.
Hadrosaurs are duck-billed herbivores that were common in the Upper Cretaceous Period roughly 66 million years ago, and scientists are still discovering new species across Asia, Europe, and North America. They were the first dinosaur family to be discovered in the Western Hemisphere by early explorers in the mid-1800s. What makes researchers excited about this particular find is the excellent condition of the fossil itself.
“This specimen is coming from a place where we haven’t had dinosaurs before,” Henderson said. “This will be a significant specimen. We’re going to learn a lot from it.”