Culture and Tourism Minister Ricardo Miranda issued the following statement about a new dinosaur species that has been named after a technician at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology:
“The provincially owned and operated Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology is once again capturing international attention for its latest research findings on a 110-million-year-old dinosaur, said to be one of the best preserved dinosaurs in the world.
“The new species of armoured dinosaur, named Borealopelta markmitchellii, was discovered at the Suncor Millennium Mine near Fort McMurray in 2011 and is on display in the museum’s newest exhibit, Grounds for Discovery. Museum staff have been conducting research on the specimen since its discovery and those findings were released today in the latest edition of the scientific journal Current Biology.
“I am excited to share with Albertans that this incredible, one-of-a-kind dinosaur has been named after Royal Tyrrell Museum technician Mark Mitchell, who spent nearly six years and 7,000 hours working on the fossil. To be honoured in this fashion is a testament to the high-calibre work of staff at the museum and the level of excellence they achieve in the field of palaeontology.
“My congratulations to Mark Mitchell and all museum staff, who worked tirelessly on this dinosaur. We are fortunate to have such talent and excellence here in Alberta contributing to the global paleontological record and preserving our provincial history.
“Your work continues to put the museum, and Alberta, on the map as a premier destination attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually and contributing to the local and provincial economy.
“When this amazing dinosaur went on display at the museum this past May as part of the Grounds for Discovery exhibit, it received international attention from premier publications such as National Geographic, the New York Times, Sky News Australia, Forbes, the Guardian and CNN.
“In addition, this project has been well documented in National Geographic with an interactive 3D model of the dinosaur, both how it looked and lived in its day, and how it came to be fossilized for millions of years before its discovery. That coverage continues with a new online interactive graphic that explains the dinosaur’s fossilization.
“As Canada’s only museum devoted exclusively to palaeontology, the Royal Tyrrell continues to make life better for Albertans by collecting and preserving some of the best fossils in the world that have given us a better understanding of what life was like in ancient Alberta.
“The journal is publicly accessible online for more information about the dinosaur and the museum’s research findings.”