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Boy, 12, finds dinosaur skeleton of 'great significance' while out hiking

Bones are from duck-billed Hadrosaur which roamed area 69 million years ago

Colin Drury
Saturday 17 October 2020 14:14 BST
Twelve year old boy finds dinosaur skeleton of 'great significance' while out hiking
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A 12-year-old wannabe palaeontologist showed the professionals how to do it when he discovered a dinosaur skeleton dating back 69 million years while out hiking.

Nathan Hrushkin saw the fossils sticking out of a rock while walking through Horseshoe Canyon in Canada’s Alberta province with his dad.

And after the pair sent photos of their find to authorities, experts have since excavated some 50 different bones from the area – all belonging to the same young duck-billed Hadrosaur.

"When I looked at it, it was very, very obviously a bone,” the youngster said. “It looked like a bone you'd see in a TV show.

"I was basically just breathless. I was so excited that I didn't feel that excited, I was just so in shock."

The youngster, who wants to be a paleontologist when he’s older, first realised the area may be rich-pickings for dino-hunters a year ago after stumbling on small fragments of fossils while there with dad Dion.

So, this summer the duo went back to see what they could discover – and found the fossilised bones poking out of the side of a hill.

They logged the find with the Royal Tyrrell Museum, in the nearby town of Drumheller, which then asked for photos and GPS coordinates, before sending a team to inspect further.

It was then the full significance of what Nathan had discovered became clear.

Palaeontologists have since told him that, while they knew dinosaurs were common in this area, they were, until now, unsure what lived there in the period the Hadrosaur is from.

"This young Hadrosaur is a very important discovery because it comes from a time interval for which we know very little about what kind of dinosaurs or animals lived in Alberta,” said François Therrien, palaeo-ecology curator at the RTM. “The discovery that Nathan made is of great significance because it fills those gaps."

Reflecting on the find, Nathan told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: "Every year we've come here, we've found something a little bit better than the last year. Now we have to try to outdo ourselves from the skeleton.”

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