Alberta's Milk River, by James Bremner

The cliffs above Alberta's Milk River yielded the remains of a young hadrosaur in 1997.

Trackways #12, Fall 1997—When Lethbridge writer Shanan Timmers went for walk on the banks of the North Milk River west of Del Bonita, Alberta, earlier this summer, he stumbled across a find important to the world of palaeontology.

Jutting out from the overhanging river cutbank, far from where palaeontologists would have thought to look, were dinosaur bones.

It turns out the bones belong to a sub-adult hadrosaur, one of only a few half-grown hadrosaur skeletons ever recovered. When it was alive, the animal measured about three metres long and about two metres high at the hip.

The specimen may be the first dinosaur found in the St. Mary’s River rock formation. That, and its isolation from other know hadrosaur skeletons increase the possibility of it being a new species.

The pelvis, femur and base of the tail sticking ouf of the rock are beautifully articulated, suggesting that the from part of the animal may continue into the bank. However, until the animal is in the lab and prepared, scientists won’t know exactly how much of the animal is in place.

Before that can happen, collecting crews from the Royal Tyrrell Museum and Devil’s Coulee Interpretive Centre must remove the specimen from the overhang six metres above the river—without having bones fall and break in the riverbed. A heavy sandstone layer covering the fossil and access to the site only from above further complicate the excavation.

© Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology 1997

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