Funk was in a daze as the workers rushed past him in their squelching boots. They powered through the oily sand, and Funk heard them stop and then gasp.
He had to pinch himself to ensure his eyes weren’t playing tricks on him. The sight before him was unbelieving; no one would have believed him if they hadn’t seen it for themselves. His mind raced with questions.
A Construction Worker
Shawn Funk was a miner with 12 years of experience as a construction worker and heavy-machine operator. He had seen a lot in his time uncovering buried objects.
Funk had seen many things throughout his experience and thought he had seen all there was to see. But he had no idea what was about to come.
A Love For His Job
Funk loved spending his time outdoors and in the elements, which made him the perfect fit for his job. He was prepared for another day of digging in the earth in Millennium Mine in Alberta, Canada, and he happily climbed into the backhoe.
He was fascinated with anomalies, which only added to his love for his job. He hoped to find something unique one day, but he had no idea how close he was to that dream becoming a reality.
Preserved In Rock
The hours he spent working were the same as any other day. He continuously dug up rocks from the earth and lifted them high up into the air before relocating them.
As he worked his way through the sand, tar, and oil, he thought about how time had been preserved in these rocks. His mind ran away, imagining what would happen if he unearthed something special.
A Wild Imagination
His mind brought up a memory of a news segment about a miner who had found something special. He had dug through dirt and stone to find an ancient egg. Shawn soon snapped out of it and laughed at his wild imagination.
His mind cleared, and he continued working and operated the machine to start digging again. But that’s when he heard the loud crack of the metal hitting something hard.
Time To Investigate
The excavator was still holding onto chunks of earth, so he released those to the ground before he went to investigate. The rocks were unlike any he had seen before, and he decided to move on to the back of his truck to examine them later.
He had made a big hole while excavating and returned to the site. What lay before him sent his mind and heart racing.
In Need Of Assistance
There was no one nearby to assist him; the closest man to him was someone operating an excavator far off in the distance. Shawn needed to act quickly and ran to his truck to call for officials and backup.
The crack was widening, and he decided not to wait any longer. He ran for his shovel and used the adrenaline rush to help dig. However, his valiant efforts were not enough.
A Gut Instinct
Funk worked as fast as he could, trying to keep ahead of the loose earth. He couldn’t let the loose ground collapse before he unearthed the anomaly. But he needed to work fast before the loose earth buried him and his discovery.
He felt like he had an out-of-body experience, his gut telling him what to do instead of his mind. He would do anything to protect his finding. He continued his efforts on the large boulder until he heard a noise.
He watched as the backup brought a large crane and pillars to the site. He helped them dig beneath the rock, so wooden planks could be placed there to keep the rock still.
The crane lifted the rock into the air, and Shawn held his breath. His eyes were locked on his discovery, still trying to wrap his head around the fact that he had found something special.
Into The Air
Funk felt the tension leave his body once the rock was lifted from the crumbling surface. But there was a lot more to be done.
The crane had just lowered the rock to the ground again when an ear-splitting sound rang out through the air. Funk’s eyes widened at the rock, which was now split in half. He had to tell himself it was real.
What Is It?
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 its death 112 million years ago.
Not only did it have teeth and bones, but also its skin and remnants of its intestines – a phenomenon as rare as winning the lottery. How?
How Did It Get There?
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 sank back into the ocean floor. Minerals seeped into the skin and armor and supported its back, immortalizing 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.
A Unique Glimpse Inside
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.
Not A Bad Day’s Work
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 backyard that rivaled that of the Nodosaur.
It Started As Just An Ordinary Day
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.
A Walk That Would Make History
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.
Stopped In His Tracks
Walking alongside the riverbank with his dog beside him, Jose suddenly 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.
What Exactly Was It?
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?
Calling For Help
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.
This Was No Joke
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.
They Knew They Needed Backup
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.
911, What’s Your Emergency?
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.
Sniffing For Clues
Jose persuaded the police to come and see the object, and they agreed. As they arrived, hundreds of local residents 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.
Time To Take Further Action
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.
Getting 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.
Not What They Expected
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.
The Removal Of The Object
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.
The Truth Is Finally Revealed
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.
An Unexpected Answer
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.
Could It Be A Hoax?
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.
The Mystery Of The Glyptodons
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.
Questions Finally Answered
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 it was 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.
This Shell Wasn’t Even That Big
The giant fossil that was found on the farm was seemingly huge in size, measuring around 3 feet. However, palaeontologists have estimated that the shell belonged to a juvenile glyptodon.
Fully-mature members of the species can measure up to 11 feet!
He Still Can’t Believe It
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.
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.