Boy, 12, discovers rare dinosaur skeleton

Canadian boy finds fossils critical to the study of the hadrosaur, or duck-billed dinosaur

12-year-old from Calgary makes “significant find” of Hadrosaur bones near Drumheller

Nathan Hrushkin was out hiking with his father, Dion, and some friends at the remote Horseshoe Canyon near Drumheller in Alberta, Canada, in July when he spotted a bone protruding out of the ground.

Nathan Hrushkin has wanted to be a paleontologist for as long as he can remember, and the 12-year-old has already made a significant discovery.

They'd visited this particular site before in Horseshoe Canyon, but only found bone fragments, Nathan said.

On Thursday, the skeleton's excavation was completed.

"I wasn't even excited, even though I know I should have [been] ..."

"I've been aspiring to be a palaeontologist for pretty much as long as I can remember", he said, "so it's pretty incredible to finally find something real that's like big".

Nathan became interested in dinosaurs since he was six years old, and with his father he often went to the Canada Nature Reserve in Badlands, Alberta.

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"I've always just been so fascinated with how their bones go from bones like ours, to solid rock", the report quoted Nathan. Fossil discoveries are rare in this geological layer.

So this summer Nathan made a decision to inspect.

So this summer when the boy was able to inspect the area, the report said he found the fossilized bones "poking out of the side of a hill".

"He called down to me, he's like, 'Dad, you need to get up here, ' and as soon as he said that I could tell by the tone in his voice that he found something", Dion Hrushkin said.

Nathan had been hiking with his father, Dion, when they found the fossils.

After months of work by technicians from the museum the bones are in protective plaster jackets and being moved out of the canyon to the museum where they'll be worked on for well over a year.

The latter is the most important step, palaeontologists say, as fossils in Canada are protected by law and much information is lost when they are removed from their location.

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The fossil was a humerus bone from the arm of a juvenile hadrosaur - a duck-billed dinosaur that lived about 69 million years ago, according to a news release from the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The museum asked them to send photos and Global Positioning System coordinates of their discovery.

So far they have found between 30 and 50 bones in the canyon's wall, all belonging to one young Hadrosaur, estimated to be aged about three or four. "Also, leave the fossils undisturbed in the ground".

But the part of the conservation site where they were walking was not known for fossil discoveries, so the museum sent a team of experts to excavate.

Nathan said the experience has motivated him even more to pursue his dream.

"But after my discovery, it's most definitely the Hadrosaur".

"The discovery of Nathan and his father will help us bridge this big gap in our knowledge about the evolution of dinosaurs", said Francois Terrian, Secretary General of the Museum's Ancient Environment, in a statement.

"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", the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology's Curator of Dinosaur Palaeoecology, François Therrien, said. When he realized how many bones were there, he assembled a whole team of scientists to help.

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