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Boy, 12, Discovers Rare Dinosaur Skeleton

Emily Brown


Boy, 12, Discovers Rare Dinosaur SkeletonNature Conservancy of Canada

A young dinosaur enthusiast was left ‘literally speechless’ when he discovered the bones of a Hadrosaur protruding from a rock in Canada. 

Nathan Hrushkin, 12, spotted the skeleton earlier this year while on a hike with his dad, Dion, in the Nodwell conservation site at Horseshoe Canyon, near Drumheller.


The young boy has been interested in dinosaurs since he was six years old, and has always been ‘fascinated with how their bones grow from bones like ours to solid rock.’

HadrosaurFunkMonk/Wikimedia Commons

Last year, Nathan and Dion were exploring the conservation site when they came across small fragments of fossils. Dion suspected they were falling down from the rock above, so the pair returned in July to take a closer a look.

Nathan spotted the bones growing out of the side of a hill and called to his dad to share the discovery.


The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) confirmed the ‘significant’ find this week, explaining that Nathan and Dion snapped pictures of the bones and sent them to the Royal Tyrrell Museum, where they were identified as those of a young Hadrosaur, or ‘duck-billed’ dinosaur.

Fossil reports from the Horseshoe Canyon area are said to be few and far between, so the museum sent a team to the site to investigate further. Palaeontologists managed to uncover between 30 and 50 bones in the canyon’s wall and determined they all belonged to the same animal, thought to be about three or four years old when it died.

Nathan told BBC News he didn’t know what to say when he set eyes on the bones, admitting he ‘wasn’t even excited’, even though he knows he should have been.


He explained:

I was in so much shock that I had actually found a dinosaur discovery.

I was probably like most kids, the Tyrannosaurus rex was probably my favourite kind. But after my discovery, it’s most definitely the Hadrosaur.

Dion described the skeleton as looking like ‘bones made of stone’, explaining it would have been impossible to mistake them for anything else.


He added:

It looked like the end of a femur, it had that classic bone look to it, sticking straight out of the ground.

The NCC said that while hadrosaurs are the most common fossils found in Alberta’s Badlands, not many juvenile skeletons have been found. Nathan’s discovery is even more significant because it is estimated to be 69 million years old, and records from that time period are rare.


François Therrien, Curator of Dinosaur Palaeoecology at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, commented:

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. Nathan and Dion’s find will help us fill this big gap in our knowledge of dinosaur evolution.

Nathan said the whole process has been ‘surreal’, but he is looking forward to seeing the skeleton be fully excavated from the ground after months of work.

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Topics: Life, Canada, Dinosaur, Fossil


Nature Conservancy Canada and 1 other
  1. Nature Conservancy Canada

    Twelve-year old boy finds dinosaur fossil at Nature Conservancy of Canada Horseshoe Canyon site

  2. BBC

    Boy, 12, discovers rare dinosaur skeleton

Emily Brown
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