September 3, 2013 – After five years of work paleontologist Richard McCrea and his team of six unearthed the most complete dinosaur skeleton ever discovered in British Columbia!
The skeleton belongs to a 73-million-year-old hadrosaur. Most of the bones of its major body parts are there. "We found a total of now six femora, which is six thigh bones, and normally dinosaurs only had two just like we do," said McCrea.
Just one big thing is missing: it's head!
McCrea thinks a tyrannosaurus may have scavenged the head after the hadrosaur died because they also found 60 tyrannosaur teeth around the skeleton. "The head would have been easy to take off after the hadrosaur died," he explained. "It's one of the weakest links on most animals because the head is fairly heavy."
McCrea believes that the discovery of this skeleton shows that British Columbia's paleontological history needs to be taken more seriously. Many believed that the province doesn't have dinosaurs but McCrea's hadrosaur proves them wrong. "[British Columbia] does obviously have them, now, but they're not in easy-to-get places."
This hadrosaur was found in a hill near the Alberta border, and excavating it was no easy task. "For every metre that we go into the side of the hill, we have to remove eight metres of [rock and soil], and that's all by hand," McCrea explained.
"Plus we have to be very careful when we're excavating anyways. It's not pick-and-shovel work when you're down at the bone layer. We're using very small instruments. Little picks, brushes, that kind of thing."
It will be at least year before the hadrosaur is publicly displayed because McCrea does not have enough funding to hire people to prepare the bones for display.