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Meet Canada's newest dinosaur, unearthed from the oil sands

Borealopelta markmitchelli, despite having a physique "like a tank," had predators. And its name honours the technician who spent years preparing the fossil

An artist's rendering of Alberta's newest dinosaur, one of the heavily armoured group called nodosaurs, getting attacked by a predator.

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Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology

An artist's rendering of Alberta's newest dinosaur, one of the heavily armoured group called nodosaurs, getting attacked by a predator.

Alberta's creature from the deep, a spectacularly preserved armoured dinosaur unearthed from the oil sands, may have weighed 1,300 kg and been built "like a tank," — but it had predators after it.

Take a second to imagine how deadly those must have been.

A new study of its skin (yes, it still has skin after 110 million years!), found it had a dark-coloured back and a lighter, maybe yellow, belly. The paper, by scientists at Alberta's Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, was published today in the journal Current Biology.

That's a common type of camouflage called countershading, seen all over the animal kingdom: The parts of the animal's body exposed to light are darker, while the underside (i.e. the belly) are usually lighter in colour.

The dino, which represents a new species, has been named Borealopelta markmitchelli, after Mark Mitchell, the technician who spent five years carefully chipping away rock to reveal the fossil within.

Technician Mark Mitchell, who was honoured for his work on the fossil specimen by having the dinosaur named after him.

Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology

Technician Mark Mitchell, who was honoured for his work on the fossil specimen by having the dinosaur named after him.

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