An oil pipeline operation from Tourmaline Oil Corporation unearthed an almost perfect hadrosaur spine near the town of Spirit River in Alberta, Canada according to a report published in the Oct. 3, 2013, edition of the Edmonton Journal.
The equipment operator observed something unusual and stopped digging in time to prevent any major destruction to the 90 foot long spinal column.
Pipestone Creek Dinosaur Initiative head paleontologist, Dr. Matthew Vavrek, Brian Brake, executive director of the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, and representatives from National Geographic were called to investigate the discovery.
The researchers claim this may be one if not the most complete and unspoiled hadrosaur fossil ever recovered.
Hardrosaurs were large duck-billed herbivorous dinosaurs that populated Canada and North America between 145 and 66 million years ago. The exact species of the newly discovered fossil has yet to be identified.
In an unusual show of concern for nature, members of the oil crew are working with the paleontologists in the slow process of removal of the fossil. There is a time constraint due to the impending snow season in the area.
A complete unbroken spinal column fossil is an extreme rarity. Dinosaur fossils usually end up in a jumble of bones as the result of water movement or the movement of the sediments where the animals died.