Royal Tyrell Museum Alberta: We Now Know What a 100 Million Year Old Armoured Dinosaur Last Ate

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© Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology. Illustration by Julius Csotonyi.

The Royal Tyrell Museum has shared the scientific analysis of the stomach contents of fossilized nodosaur Borealopelta markmitchelli.

The Alberta museum located in Drumhellerhas the world’s best-preserved armoured dinosaur which lived 110 million years ago. The analysis of the stomach contents about the size of a soccer ball revealed exquisitely-preserved plants eaten by the animal.

According to the museum, “the last meal of Borealopelta consisted of 88% leaf material, with a 7% minor stem/twigs component.”

The museum says the dinosaur ate mostly ferns that belong to the largest group of ferns alive today, called the leptosporangiate ferns which most people would encounter on a walk in the woods.


There were also traces of conifer foliage along with significant (6%) charcoal. As per the museum, this may represent “the dietary use of recently burned conifer forest undergoing fern succession, early evidence of a fire succession ecology, as is associated with many modern large herbivores.”

The fossil is on display at the Royal Tyrell Museum.

The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology reopened to visitors on May 22. Most of the permanent exhibits are open, with the exception of the Learning Lounge gallery, as the majority of that area is high touch.

Hours During COVID-19 Alberta Reopening Phase

May 22 – August 30
Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed Mondays, except holidays.

Times tickets are required.

More information about the discovery is available here.

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