What Was That?
Sean looked at the object in amazement.
He had no idea what it was or how it ended up beneath his excavator, but he knew it was something incredible.
It was only years later that he found out that his find was a groundbreaking discovery. It was something scientists had never seen before. And that made it more valuable than Sean could begin to imagine.
Sean had always loved mining.
Since he was a little boy, it has been his passion, so it made sense that he joined the industry as soon as he could.
That was twelve years before this incident. And to that day, he loved the job as much as he did when he was just a boy.
Some Wild Dreams
Of course, some of his other childhood dreams also followed him along the way.
Even though Sean knew that it was highly unlikely, he always wondered if he would be lucky enough to stumble upon some long-buried treasure.
It was a silly notion, but it stuck with him nonetheless. Little did he know that he would stumble upon something that was more valuable than anything else he could’ve found.
Never The Case
Sadly, Sean wasn’t as lucky as his wild dreams made him out to be.
He never stumbled upon a long-lost pirate treasure or a hidden vase from a long-forgotten dynasty.
Mostly he just sat behind the controls of his excavator, digging up the soil and loading it onto the truck beside him, so it could be processed. But that didn’t mean he didn’t find anything.
Treasures Were Found
Every now and then, something would trickle out of the mountain of unprocessed sand-oil mixture.
But it wasn’t anything that would make him or the company rich.
Mostly, all they found were old coins, and on a lucky occasion, they could get a necklace or two. However, that wasn’t the treasure Sean had in mind. And it wasn’t a regular thing, either.
Mostly, the only things that came out with the sand were trash that got lodged in the machines.
And that could do some nasty damage, which could turn out to be pretty pricey.
So, the workers always kept an eye out for things like that, hoping to minimize the damage. But one day, all that changed. Sean found something so big it had the entire crew talking.
One Special Morning
When Sean woke up that morning, he had no idea what the day had in store for him. He expected it to be a usual workday.
But it turned out to be anything but what he expected.
The sun was just starting to rise when Sean started his shift. And he was pretty excited about getting to work. If only he knew what would happen a few hours later…
Humming To His Own Tune
Sean was in a fantastic mood that day.
He felt so good that some of his coworkers joked about him dancing to his own tune.
He had no idea why he was feeling that way. But he liked it. Looking back, he wonders if it might’ve had something to do with what he found that day.
Like Any Other Day
The sun was high in the sky, and Sean was having a ball.
He was sitting in his excavator doing the usual by letting it dig into the ground and then dumping the load in the truck.
It was just like any other day until something happened that had Sean freezing in his seat. It was an experience like no other.
Stopping In His Tracks
Sean was about to go for lunch, so he rested the bucket of his excavator on the ground.
As he did so, he thought he heard the metal hitting something.
He stopped everything he was doing, turned off the ignition, and listened. At first, he thought he was imagining things, but then he heard something else.
As Sean was about to give up, he heard something that froze him in place.
He could hear a cracking sound coming from beneath the bucket. But that didn’t make any sense.
There should be any rocks or debris where he was. The only thing that filled that area were mountains of oily sand. So what was it?
What Did He Hit?
Millions of scenarios passed through his mind as he sat there.
The first ones revolved around it being a treasure chest filled with jewelry and gold.
But Sean reminded himself that he wasn’t that lucky and took a more logical approach. However, at that point, he was too afraid to move. What if he broke the thing when he did?
Unsure Of What To Do
Sean spent a few minutes going over his options.
He’d have to spend at least the rest of the day out there, and it wasn’t like his excavator could walk on eggshells.
And his curiosity wasn’t just going to let him ignore what he heard. He had to move his excavator and find out what it was that he cracked.
Putting It Down
With that thought in mind, Sean gently lifted the excavator bucket and reversed a bit before putting the bucket down on the other side.
He peeked out of the window, hoping he could get a glimpse of what it was.
But all he saw was more oil-soaked sand. If he wanted a better look, he’d have to get out.
A Cautious Approach
Sean jumped out of his excavator and cautiously approached the sight.
He had no idea what he would find, and that scared him a little.
It could be anything from a rock to an ancient piece of debris. Each step he took was nerve-wracking, but it was exhilarating at the same time. What would he find down there?
What Was He Looking At?
When Sean stopped at the source of all this trouble, he was incredibly confused.
He could see a smooth object peeking out from beneath the sand.
But he couldn’t figure out what it was. From what he could see, he’d assume it was a rock, but a rock that size would’ve been found ages ago.
Filled With Excitement
Sean didn’t know whether it was excitement or adrenaline that was coursing through his system.
Maybe it was a bit of both.
But at that point, it didn’t matter. All he wanted to do was find out what the strange object was, and he wanted to do it without causing any more damage. Would that be possible?
Sean knew the excavator would do more harm than good, so he dropped onto his knees and used his bare hands to clear the space around the object.
He didn’t know how long he had been busy, but he did clear a sizable area, and it seemed like he was getting nowhere.
The more he dug, the bigger the object seemed to get.
After what felt like an eternity, Sean concluded that there was no way he was going to reach the bottom on his own.
He needed backup, and luckily the mine was full of that.
He went to his excavator and asked anyone who was available to come to help him with something he found. Of course, everyone was interested.
In a matter of minutes, the majority of the crew came pulling up, and they seemed to be just as confused as Sean was.
None of them had ever seen anything like the object.
And because of that, they were more than happy to lend a hand. The problem was that even if all of them worked together, they wouldn’t be able to lift it from the ground.
A Glimmer Of Hope
After a rather lengthy discussion about what to do, they finally had a plan.
Some of the workers hoisted the supposed rock onto some planks while the rest prepared a pulley to move it.
It seemed like a brilliant plan, and everyone was ready for the object to be lifted. But then something happened that had them all gasping in shock.
The workers used the pulley to lift the object from the ground, and then tragedy struck.
They all stopped what they were doing when they heard the object crack.
A faint line spread down the middle, and with each inch, it grew, the gap started getting bigger. They didn’t know whether they should move or not. But they found out a few seconds later.
Tumbling To The Ground
The bottom of the object split open like an egg, and tiny pieces started falling out.
The men were shocked by what they saw.
After the smaller pieces stopped dripping out of the rock, they managed to move it to the side and have a closer look at what had fallen. It was then that they discovered that this was beyond their expertise.
The site manager picked up one of the smaller pieces and said, “This looks like a bone.”
He was instantly surrounded by amazed onlookers who wanted to get a better look.
But he made the decision to close off the site while he got in touch with some local archeologists. They didn’t know what they were dealing with, and he didn’t want to cause any more damage.
A Bit Of A Wait
The archeologists agreed to come by and have a look at what they found.
But it would take a little while as the mine wasn’t close to the city.
And since the workers were all too excited to do anything, the site manager allowed them to hang around while they waited for the professionals to arrive.
Archeologists To The Rescue
After about an hour of waiting, the archeologists showed up and made their way to the dig site.
They examined the smaller pieces first, and their excitement instantly grew.
The team gathered everything that fell through the crack and sat down around the gigantic pile. What were they seeing that had them so excited? Had the crew missed something?
Piecing It Back Together
Sean got a little closer and saw that the archeologists were actually putting the pieces together like they were some kind of puzzle.
A gigantic puzzle that weighed about 2,500 pounds.
Sean was sure it was some kind of fossil now that he saw what he saw. But what kind of animal did it belong to?
One Last Look
He’d have to wait a few years before that question could finally be answered.
The archeologists explained as much as they could and allowed Sean and the rest of the crew to marvel at the creature while they waited for a truck to arrive.
The fossil needed to be examined as soon as possible, and the truck would be coming to take it to its next destination.
A little while later, the truck arrived at the site.
The miners helped the archaeologists to get everything loaded in. And within a matter of minutes, the driver was on his way.
The archeologists thanked the team for calling them and taking such good care of their discovery. They also informed the site manager that they would let him know once they had any leads.
Continuing His Day
With a sigh, Sean covered the hole they dug and continued with his work.
But his mind was fixed on the fossil.
He wondered what it could’ve been and how long it would take for the archeologists to get back to them. He would have those answers long before he was able to forget his shocking find.
A Groundbreaking Discovery
Sean later learned that the fossil belonged to a 112-million-year-old dinosaur species.
Even though it wasn’t a complete skeleton, it was a groundbreaking discovery.
Why? Because it had been preserved from its snout to its hip. Making it one of the most well-preserved fossils of the species. But that wasn’t all that made this discovery so incredible.
Never Seen Before
The creature found by Sean and his team was one of a kind.
It had never been documented before, making it an entirely new species.
But the research on the remains wasn’t done yet. What they had found was just the tip of the iceberg of information the fossil held. When scientists did an X-ray on the fossil, they discovered something that had them scratching their heads.
The X-ray revealed that it wasn’t just the dinosaur’s skeleton that remained intact.
Its bones, teeth, skin, and even a part of its intestine were perfectly preserved.
It might not sound that astonishing. But in terms of fossilization, finding a skeleton that still has its skin and intestines is equivalent to winning the lottery. So it was a pretty big find.
But how did that happen if it’s so rare? Even after six years of careful testing, preservation, and investigation, that exact question had scientists baffled.
Over such a long period of time, soft tissue starts to deteriorate, meaning that in this day and age, there’s nothing left.
So how did this creature manage to stay so well-preserved?
How Is It Possible?
During those six years of tireless research, archeologists managed to learn a lot about this new species.
They discovered that it was a four-legged herbivore, which was covered in armor-plated skin that was filled with spikes.
And that it had a long tail. But their question of its preservation remained nothing more than a theory.
After A Ton Of Tests
Even after countless tests and years upon years of research, archeologists couldn’t pinpoint the exact research for the dinosaur’s preservation.
The species got a name, Nodosaur. And pictures have even been drawn up to give us a better picture of what it might’ve looked like.
But there was nothing more than a theory to explain its life and tragic death. So what is that theory?
Well, archeologists believe that this specific Nodosaur died near a river.
They predict that there was a great flood in the river which ultimately swept the poor creature away.
Gasses in the Nodosaur’s stomach allowed it to float for a couple of days. The carcass eventually burst, and the Nodosaur sank down to its final resting place. But how did its skeleton survive?
It Was A Long Journey
It is believed that after the Nodosaur sank to the bottom of the river, minerals seeped into its armor and skin.
Those minerals supported its spine, which ultimately immortalized its body against the piles of rock that would fall over it in the many years that followed.
But who knows, we might end up proving that theory right in years to come because this dino’s days are far from over.
All in all, this was one massive find, and it was all thanks to Sean and the crew at Alberta Provincial Mining.
If they weren’t so careful when handling the fossil, it could’ve been destroyed.
But their fascination and dedication to their treasures made sure they could be studied for years to come. So what happened to the fossil in the end?
Years Of Studies
Years have passed since Sean and his coworkers found the fossil, so where is it now?
Six years after its discovery, scientists were still working on preserving and studying it. But they didn’t stop there.
The Nodosaur is still a topic for discussion, with tests still being conducted in 2019. Since the species is new, we still have to learn a lot about it.
A Good Day’s Work
For Sean, it was all in a good day’s work.
But he has never forgotten the details of that day. He had always dreamed of finding a special treasure.
And on that day, he finally did. But was it all that he had hoped for? He didn’t manage to keep it or make a ton of money from it. So was it really that much of a treasure?
Biggest Treasure Ever
Even though it wasn’t a chest filled with precious gems and gold, it was the biggest treasure he could dream of finding.
We mean that quite literally.
Jokes aside, though, this was more than he could ever have imagined. And even though it didn’t buy him a new house in the Bahamas, it gave him something just as precious.
What Happened To It?
So what happened to Sean and his 2,000-pound treasure? Were they ever reunited
Or is the fossil sitting in a box somewhere at the back of a lab?
We sure hope that isn’t the case because a find like that deserves to be seen by the world. So no, it isn’t sitting in a lab, but Sean doesn’t have it either.
Final Resting Place
This Nodosaur gets to call the Royal Tyrrell Museum its new home, and while there, it has to put on quite a show.
It’s displayed for everyone to see, but that doesn’t mean its days of testing are over.
Scientists are still researching its remains as they try to further their knowledge of the prehistoric era.
As for Sean, this was one discovery that he wouldn’t soon forget. And he’ll always be able to take his kids to the Royal Tyrrell Museum to show them what he found.
Plus, he gets to boast about the leading role he played in discovering one of the most significant dinosaurs. It can’t get better than that, right?
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.