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Volunteer Helicopter Airlift Discovers Alberta Fossils

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After helping unearth a unique dinosaur skeleton, University of Alberta PhD students Mark Powers and Annie Mackintosh faced the 900-pound dilemma of how to get it out of the ground.

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The pair were part of a team that discovered fossils of Edmontosaurus (eventually called Gary) in a remote area near Morin, about 25 kilometers north of Drumheller.

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According to Powers, what made Gary unique was the pose in which this dinosaur was discovered. It wasn’t sideways, but in what the researchers called “life his position.”

“We found Gary in a very interesting position. Although the excavation was more complicated, it was a very impressive and unique find,” said Powers.

Gary’s remains were also an articulated skeleton, with bones arranged like a living dinosaur, as opposed to being scattered around the excavation site.

The team originally planned to dismember Gary’s body and take it individually to the lab for examination.

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However, McIntosh explained that Gary’s positioning made that impossible. As such, they turned to neighboring communities for help with “prohibitively expensive” extraction.

Dozens responded, including nearby helicopter transport company LR Helicopters, who offered to airlift Gary for free.

“I was on the verge of tears. I was so excited,” McIntosh said. “All the hard work we’ve put in over the years has finally paid off.”

The extraction took place after Gary’s body was first discovered in the Red Deer River Valley in 2018.

Team members Christiana Garros and Giles Sukkert protect exposed bones with paper towels Photo by Annie McIntosh

Edmontonsaurus is a herbivorous dinosaur whose 73-million-year-old fossils have been found in western North America.

The team now plans to analyze Gary’s remains, starting with the skull, and compare them to other specimens of the same species.

“Gary fills a very exciting gap in our knowledge of the species as it is the smallest individual of the species to which it belongs,” Mackintosh said.

“It’s amazing how many discoveries there have been, but never like Gary,” says Powers.

PhD students Annie Mackintosh and Mark Powers were part of the team that discovered
PhD students Annie Mackintosh and Mark Powers were part of the team that discovered “Gary”, an Edmontonsaurus in the Red Deer River Valley. Photo by Colton Coppock

Volunteer Helicopter Airlift Discovers Alberta Fossils

Source link Volunteer Helicopter Airlift Discovers Alberta Fossils

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