Rare Brachylophosaurus canadensis
Articulated Tail with Skin
Brachylophosaurus canadensis was a member of the spectacularly diverse group of large bodied herbivores known as Hadrosaurids or more commonly “duck-billed” dinosaurs. The prevalence of Hadrosaurids in the fossil record shows their importance to the Cretaceous ecosystem and to the paleontologists who study these ancient periods. Fossils collected form the Hadrosaurids are some of the most compete, best preserved, and most thoroughly studied of all dinosaurs. Mummified specimens have been discovered within this family group, which reveal important evidence of soft tissue structures, skin, muscle mass, tendon and ligament position, skeletal articulation, and even diet.
The quality of TE-040 continues the long tradition of exceptional preservation in the Hadrosaurids. The tail specimen shows an articulated series of 26 caudal vertebrae with corresponding chevrons intact, completely covered in skin. The detail of the skin covering the vertebrae is truly remarkable showing slight variations in size and texture on different parts of the tail. The characteristic radially oriented polygonal scales are well defined across the tail, showing excellent definition and form. TE-040, named Subzero after the unfavorable weather conditions of its discovery, is an excellent display specimen, which allows viewers to see the intricate details of rare skin preservation in the actual context in which it was preserved. Stabilized and contained in a plaster jacket, TE-040 would make an impressive addition to any museum collection or exhibition.
The Judith River Formation comprises a vast expanse of sediment laid down during the Campanian age between 80 Ma and 75 Ma. The Campanian is the penultimate age of the Late Cretaceous epoch, before the extinction event which abruptly concluded the age of dinosaurs around 65.5 Ma (million years ago).
TE-040 was discovered in the autumn of 2012 on a private ranch in north central Montana, in the heart of the Upper Judith River Formation. The Judith River Formation is part of the Judith River Group, which is a series of Campanian Age sedimentary formations, running from the southern regions of Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada into northern and central Montana in the United States. This group is known for the excellent preservation of its diverse flora and fauna.
TE-040 was excavated from a sand matrix situated on a steep exposure above an active cut bank to a small creek. The loose sand, which covered the first caudal finds, rested below a ten inch band of solid sandstone, which had collapsed downward into the site. Sand deposits in the Judith river formation are quite common and indicate areas of swift moving water and sediment, which are critical components in the preservation of fossil material. These deposits make the the Judith River Group particularly good candidates for the preservation of articulation and rare soft tissues.
Discovered in a sandy exposure above a cut bank, several caudal vertebrae were seen weathering from beneath a large layer of sandstone. Upon removal of the sandstone layer, the caudal vertebrae were discovered to be not only articulated, but in fact covered in beautifully preserved skin. Soft tissue is an extremely rare occurrence in the fossil record and needs to be excavated with exceptional care and attention. TE-040 was therefore collected intact by creating an oversized plaster field jacket to assure no skin would be damaged or exposed in the field. Only after the specimen was painstakingly assessed and prepared in the lab, was the full extent of the soft tissue preservation discovered. The series of 26 caudal vertebrae and their articulated chevrons beautifully rest in a sand matrix, delicately draped with preserved skin. The skin lies beyond the skeletal structure of the tail, revealing the sheer size of B. canadensis’ powerful tail.
TE-040 Judith River badlands
TE-040 Exposed skin in field (detail)
TE-040 Articulated caudal (detail)
TE-040 Articulation in the field
TE-040 Distal end of tail in situ
TE-040 Skin (proximal end)
The recovered caudal vertebrae and chevrons of TE-040 are of an excellent quality overall, exhibiting beautiful detail, solid outer surfaces, and a natural brown patina common to fossils recovered from the Judith River Formation. The preserved skin is of an exceptional quality showing variations in pattern, texture and depth. Tendons are present along the neural spines of the caudal vertebrae and show the intricate network and structure that comprise the powerful tail of the Hadrosaurids. TE-040 is a partial section of a Brachylophosaurus canadensis tail only, discovered at its proximal end, thus indicating previous erosion of the specimen’s body. The distal end of the tail, which curves upward, may have been exposed previous to the discovery or may have fallen above the sediment deposition during the initial preservation of the specimen. TE-040 has been exposed only on the left side of the specimen, but is fully cleaned and stabilized for study and exhibition. There is no sign of “pyrite disease” or other mineral issues that would represent a problem with future preservation of the fossils.
TE-040 Exquisitely detailed skin
TE-040 Polygonal scales (detail)
TE-040 Skin texture (detail)
TE-040 Caudals and chevrons covered with skin
TE-040 Articulation (detail)
TE-040 Skin on ventral side of tail
TE-040 Articulation and skin (detail)
TE-040 Articulated caudal
TE-040 Caudals (distal end)
TE-040 Proximal end of tail (detail)
– Applicable quarry maps
– Inventory lists of all collected material
– Field and labratory photos
– Field and labratory notes
– GPS location data
– Legal documentation including, any signed lease agreements and Federal certification letter from appropriate agency if applicable.
All documentation and materials will be transferred to buyer at the time of purchase.
Documentation, materials, photographs, maps, legal documents, GPS data are available for inspection upon request.