“It’s pretty amazing to find something that’s as real as a real dinosaur discovery,” he told CNN. “It’s been a bit of my dream for a while.”
Nathan is a seventh grader in Calgary, which is about an hour and a half away.
Nathan and his father, Dion, had found bone fragments in the area on a previous hike and thought they might have been washed down further up the hill.
They were just about to finish lunch when Nathan climbed up the hill to look.
“He called down to me, he̵
Nathan said the fossil was very clear and it looked like “a scene in a TV show or a cartoon or something.”
Fossils are protected by law in Alberta, and the NCC said it is important that people do not disturb the fossils they may find.
The crew has been working at the site for about two months, uncovering between 30 and 50 bones that came from a single young hadrosaur that was about three or four years old, according to the statement.
Hadrosaur bones are the most common fossils found in Alberta’s badlands, but only a few youth skeletons have been found, the statement said. It was also found in a layer of rock that rarely preserves fossils.
“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,” said François Therrien, Royal Tyrrell Museum’s curator of dinosaur paleoecology, in the statement. “Nathan and Dion’s findings can help us fill this big gap in our knowledge of dinosaur evolution.”
The fossils were very close together, so the paleontologists removed large pieces of the surrounding rock from the gorge walls.
The bones were then covered with a protective jacket with jute and plaster so that they could be taken to the museum for cleanup and further examination.
One of the fossil-rich plates weighed about 1,000 pounds and was more than four feet wide, according to Carys Richards, a communications manager at NCC.
Nathan had heard of the hadrosaur before his great find, but said it was not the most famous dinosaur.
It’s probably his favorite now – to knock out the wildly popular Tyrannosaurus rex.
Nathan and his father have come to see the excavation several times since the discovery and were there on Thursday when the team pulled out the final samples.
“It was pretty fun being there and watching them do their thing,” Nathan said.