Checking Things Out
Funk looked at the workers while they hurried over to the scene. The sound of all their boots crushing the soft sand was silenced by the sound everyone let out.
It was like something out of science fiction. He couldn’t trust his eyes, was he really seeing it? What was sticking out of the rock was something that no one would believe unless you showed them. But what was this thing?
Just An Ordinary Day
It was a normal day at work for Shawn Funk. He was an experienced miner with 12 years under his belt. He worked as a heavy machine operator so he had seen plenty of lost “treasure” in all his years.
More often than not garbage was the thing that they found, but sometimes there would be something of value. Funk didn’t think anything could surprise him these days. But what he didn’t know was he was about to be proved wrong.
Funk was ready for another day of excavating in Millennium Mine in Alberta, Canada. Funk was happy with his life, he had a job he truly loved. Nothing was better than working with your hands in nature.
He really loved finding natural anomalies, some called it an obsession. He really wanted to find one, but over the years he became more skeptical. But he had no idea today he was going to find what he wanted.
Quite The Imagination
Funk sat in the seat of his excavator like he did every day. The huge crane would shovel giant rocks from the ground into a pile. It was usual for him, today was just another boring day, or so he thought.
He was scooping a crevice into the earth so all you could see was mud and oil. As he scooped more of the ground’s layers he imagined that each layer was older than the last, imagining what could have walked on this soil.
He remembered seeing something on the news about a miner finding an egg in the ground. He looked down at the hole he was digging and just saw sand. He smirked knew there was nothing.
He kept digging until suddenly his crane his something very hard underneath the old earth. He had heard a loud cracking sound and wondered what he could have hit – another rock?
What A Find
He raised the crane of his digger and swiveled off of his seat out of the cab. He looked at the rocks his crane had in its jaws. The rocks looked strange so he transported them on his pickup truck to found out what they were.
He then went back to the crevice he was busy digging. He looked at the damp hole, his eyes widening as he saw something that made his stomach tie into a knot.
He sprinted to his cab and called for officials, coworkers, site managers – everyone! As he looked left and right he noticed that there wasn’t anyone close by. There was one digger in the distance working on its own soil. That was too far away, he had to act now.
After finding the narrow crack that was widening, Funk grabbed a shovel from his truck and hurriedly started digging. He felt like a strongman as otherworldly energy came to him. Even with his newfound strength he needed some backup.
Against The Clock
Funk knew time was of the utmost importance so he started digging hard and harder, he didn’t want the loose earth to shift over his artifact and bury both of them.
He wasn’t thinking, he was just digging. His intuition told him that he had to make sure nothing happened to this artifact. This was the most important thing right now. While he was digging away behind his prize he heard something in the distance.
The cavalry had arrived! Funk’s backup he had called in was on the scene. They brought an even bigger crane so they took help to dislodge the anomaly. They dug below the artifact and put boards underneath it so it could be held steadily.
After they had secured it tightly, Funk looked at it nervously as they begin lifting it. Funk felt like this was his find and thus didn’t want anything happening to it.
A Sickening Crack
Once the artifact had been lifting high in the air above the watery tomb it had stayed in, Funk felt his diaphragm relax. But he didn’t know that he wasn’t out of the water just yet.
As the crane slowly lowered the artifact down to touch solid ground, everyone heard a sickening crack that made them all wince. The artifact broke in two – showing Funk what he believed to have seen the first time he stumbled upon it.
What Was It?
A team from the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology rushed to the scene. Funk watched as their eyes popped in shock and amazement as they realized what they were called for.
Funk explained everything and they spent hours carefully digging through the shattered bits of rock, piecing together something you could only see to believe. What was it?
Incredibly, Funk discovered a real-life fossilized dinosaur that had been petrified from its snout to its hips. This meant it was miraculously well preserved since it’s death 112 million years ago.
Not only did it have teeth and bones, but also it’s skin and remnants of its intestines – a phenomenon as rare as winning the lottery. How?
How Did It Get There?
Scientists speculate that the unlucky dinosaur died and ended up being swept into the river by a big flood. It was kept afloat by gases in its body which washed its belly-up carcass far out to sea.
After a week or so, the carcass burst and it sank back-first into the ocean floor. Minerals seeped into the skin and armor and supported its back which immortalized its form as tonnes of rock piled on top of it.
Researchers from the museum and all over the world worked tirelessly for 6 years to test, preserve, and prepare this dinosaur’s remains while piecing together his unbelievable story.
Scientists concluded that this dinosaur was a four-legged herbivore, covered in armor-plated skin and spikes with a long tail. It was a brand new discovery of species, called a Nodosaur.
In its petrified state, the Nodosaur weighed about 2,500 pounds – which gives scientists a reasonable idea of how much it weighed when it was alive.
They estimate that the Nodosaur weighed in at around 3,000 pounds! This means that the Nodosaur would have been a fairly solitary creature when it roamed the land 100 million years ago.
The miracle of the Nodosaur’s perfectly preserved remains still baffles scientists – especially after its rough and long journey to its final resting place.
Exactly how this preservation occurred was still a mystery to experts. All they were able to determine was that it had to have happened quickly because the Nodosaur had lain undisturbed for millions of years after it had been covered by oil.
Unique Glimpse Inside
Due to the Nodosaur’s pristine condition, scientists were able to use modern X-ray scans to see what was inside the dinosaur’s tough exoskeleton.
They were able to see its bone structure and even inside the inner chambers of the beast’s stomach – that’s just how well preserved this find was. Nobody could believe it – least of all the man who found it.
Not A Bad Day’s Work!
The Nodosaur is now on display at the Royal Tyrrell Museum and scientists are still studying its remains as they continue to learn more about the prehistoric era of dinosaurs.
As for miner Sean Funk, he gets to say that he played the leading role in one of the most significant dinosaur discoveries in the world, at work. And scientists were still not done with this find.
In early 2019, scientists were still studying the Nodosaur and its scans to continue to learn about dinosaurs in general, as nothing like this had ever been found before.
However, it wasn’t the first time someone had stumbled upon something ancient and monumental… someone made a discovery in their own back yard that rivaled that of the Nodosaur.
It Started As Just An Ordinary Day
The sound of police sirens pierces the air while hundreds of people stand and gathered around a riverbank in a local farmer’s backyard.
Right before their eyes is something that at first sight cannot be explained — something that was discovered so unexpectedly by a farmer on a simple stroll in his backyard. For that farmer, Jose, this day started out as just an ordinary day.
A Walk That Would Make History
With the sun shining down on his new home in Buenos Aries, farmer Jose Antonio Nievas decided to go for a Christmas Day walk in his backyard with his dog.
He had yet to explore the acres of land included with the farm, including the riverbank and streams. And so, he opened the back door and set off. Little did Jose know he was about to make history.
Stopped In His Tracks
Walking alongside the riverbank with his dog beside him, suddenly Jose noticed something strange in the muddy water.
Wedged in the bank, it looked like a huge giant black egg. Jose stopped in his tracks. What exactly was it? He felt a sudden sense of curiosity creep upon him. His gut was telling him to take a closer look.
What Exactly Was It?
As Jose got closer to the strange object, he noticed that it was completely covered in mud. He decided to attempt to dig it out, and as he did, the object’s true size slowly revealed itself.
Measuring 3 feet wide, it was too big to be any kind of egg… So what exactly was it?
Calling For Help
Wiping the sweat from his forehead, Jose had been digging at this object for 15 minutes. He was having trouble dislodging it out from the muddy riverbanks.
As he let out a sigh and looked at his canine companion, he knew he needed another pair of hands to help find out what this object was.
This Was No Joke
Ringing up his wife for help, Jose told her he had found a massive, black colored egg that looked like it had come from a dinosaur.
Lost for words, his wife replied with a laugh, admitting she didn’t believe him, thinking it was a joke. But as they soon discovered, this was not a joke.
They Knew They Needed Backup
Arriving at the riverbank, Jose’s wife was lost for words at the sight before her eyes. Eager to find out more, she assisted Jose in trying to dig the mystifying object out of the ground, while trying not to damage it.
However, despite all their effort, the couple looked at each other and sighed. They knew they needed backup.
911, What’s Your Emergency?
As Jose dialed 911, he hoped they would believe him when he told them about his backyard discovery. But then again, things like this don’t happen in a small town like Carlos Spegazzini.
Speaking to the police, at first they thought Jose was joking — that the call was just another prank call from some bored teenagers. But this was no prank call.
Sniffing For Clues
Jose persuaded the police to come and see the object and they agreed. As they arrived, hundreds of local residents were gathered around the riverbank.
As the residents were snapping pictures, eager to get a closer look at this out-of-this-world object, Jose’s dog started to explore the area. Little did Jose know, his dog was about to help the investigation further.
Time To Take Further Action
As the curious dog sniffed around, his tail wagging in the air, he started to bark and growl near where the big and bizarre object was found. What had Jose’s canine companion found?
The bark immediately alerted Jose and the rest of the crowd. They knew they needed to take further action, and bring in the experts.
Getting The Experts In
With tensions high and questions unanswered, the police decided to call in two local archaeologists to hopefully help explain the strange discovery.
When the two archaeologists arrived, they estimated that this object was, in fact, a relic from ancient times. Bursting with excitement, they knew this was going to be a day to remember. And oh, how they were right.
Not What They Expected
The two archaeologists started to remove the mud and help dig the object out of the riverbank. It appeared to have a scale-like structure with a green hue shimmering on it.
As they attempted to dig further, they suddenly realized just how heavy and huge this strange object was.
The Removal Of The Object
Stumbling around in the sticky, muddy water with the piercing sun shining down, after a few hours the group was finally able to extract the artifact.
Carefully, they loaded it onto the transport to take back to the lab. Little did they know they were about to find out some incredible answers.
The Truth Is Finally Revealed
At the lab, the archaeologists ran numerous tests on the object, examining the strange-shell like structure.
Although it took a while, they finally announced that the 2-ton object had been identified. But it was neither an extra-terrestrial object, egg, or a stone. Finally, they had an explanation.
An Unexpected Answer
It turned out that this strange object was actually a kind of shell – or armor – of the prehistoric beast, the Glyptodon.
The scientists and researchers were busting with excitement at their discovery. At last, an answer! But as they soon would find out, others would disagree with their excitement.
Could It Be A Hoax?
As word spread about the discovery, experts expressed their suspicions, claiming it had been a staged hoax.
Many scientists admitted they couldn’t come up with reasonable and concrete answers, questioning how the shell could have been preserved in such good condition and in an upright position. But this discovery was everything but a hoax.
The Mystery Of The Glyptodons
According to researchers, more than 10,000 years ago, South America was full of Glyptodons. These mammals resembled a Volkswagen Beetle and weighed pretty much the same too.
But Jose, the farmer who was the first to discover the shell, still had questions.
Questions Finally Answered
When hearing the claims that this discovery had been a hoax, scientific Professor Lister disagreed, claiming that, “the shell looks like a genuine glyptodon shell.”
Feeling a sense of relief knowing it had been correctly identified, Jose still wondered, why was it in his backyard? And how long had it been there for?
Glyptodons were known to have originally evolved in South America, living on the continent for tens of millions of years.
Their remains have also been found in Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. But there was still one thing that baffled scientists.
While examining the shell, scientists noticed that there was a different hole for where the head would go and vice versa for the tail.
Scientists claimed that the hole didn’t look like it was the cause of a fight, meaning there would be only one more cause… The possibility that this damage occurred recently.
This Shell Wasn’t Even That Big
The giant fossil that was found on the farm was seemingly huge in size, measuring around 3 feet. However, paleontologists have estimated that the shell had belonged to a juvenile glyptodon.
Fully-mature members of the species can measure up to 11 feet!
He Still Can’t Believe It
Still to this day, Jose can’t believe what he unexpectedly came across when on a simple stroll in his backyard.
He’ll never be able to shake off that feeling of uncertainty and curiosity when he first saw the shell. It’ll be a moment that will forever be ingrained in his memory.