Funk’s eyes darted across the faces of workers as they rushed to the scene. The squelch of their boots hitting the oily sand sound gave way to the sound of gasps.
He felt like he was living in a science fiction movie. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Out of the rock crept something you could only see to believe. What was it?
It was just another day at work for miner, Shawn Funk. With 12 years of experience working as a construction worker and heavy-machine operator, Funk had seen his share of buried objects.
From useless trash to treasured valuables, Funk thought he had seen it all. Little did he know he was just about to witness the most bizarre and incredible event of his entire career.
Making his way to the backhoe in Millennium Mine in Alberta, Canada, Funk prepared for another full day of excavating the earth. Funk loved his job. As long as he was outside and working with the elements of nature, he was happy.
He had an obsession with natural anomalies, and secretly hoped he’d find one someday. If only he knew today was his lucky day.
For hours, Funk manned his excavator as usual. Its powerful crane gulped huge rocks from the earth and hoisted them into the air. Everything was working as it should.
He was creating a huge dent in the land full of sand and oil, laced with bitumen. With every earth he lifted, he traveled back in time. He imagined how cool it would be if he actually found something.
He remembers the news segment where a miner found an ancient egg buried beneath dirt and stone. He looked at his pit of wet sand and stone and laughed. Nothing but sand, oil, and stone… he thinks.
He continued to dig. But just as he impacted to earth to swallow another piece of ancient soil, he heard a loud crack. He hit something. Something hard.
He released the chunks of earth from his excavator and got out to have a look at what fell out. He noticed something strange about the pieces of rock so he carried them on the back of his truck to investigate.
He went back to his site and peered into the large hole he dug in the ground. What he saw sent his heart pounding.
Running back to his truck, he called for officials and backup. He looked around him, but nobody was there. He saw another excavator working in the distance. But he didn’t have enough time. He needed to act fast.
Noticing the widening crack, he grabbed a shovel and started to dig. His strength doubled with the rush of adrenaline. But it still wasn’t enough, he needed back up.
Still, Funk didn’t have a second to lose. He was racing against time, against loose earth that could easily collapse and bury his anomaly and himself along with it.
He didn’t have time to think, he acted on pure instinct. His gut told him to protect this, it was his sole mission. As he stood behind the large boulder doing what he could, he heard a noise.
It was back up. They arrived in force. Bringing a large crane and pillars, they prepared to hoist the large rock into the air. They dug beneath the rock and placed wooden planks to hold it steady.
Funk helped, watching nervously as they prepared for take-off. After what he saw, he became heavily invested and couldn’t take his eyes off this mind-blogging anomaly.
Once the team of construction workers successfully airlifted the hug rock out from the crumbling surface, Funk felt himself relax. But it wasn’t over yet.
Just as the crane set the rock back down to the ground, a sharp sound rattled through the atmosphere. The rock split in half, revealing exactly what Funk thought he had seen.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.