A dinosaur tail fossil was discovered in Canada this week by a construction worker who was clearing a site for an oil pipeline near Spirit River in Alberta.
The discovery of the 100-foot-long dinosaur fossil stopped work at the site on Wednesday, prompting the company behind the dig to call in experts to examine it and properly remove it, CNN reported
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The bone, seen below in a tweet, was just five feet from the surface when it was discovered, Time magazine noted
"As we walked around it, we saw this whole part of a tail of a dinosaur," paleontologist Matthew Vavrek, who was one of several experts at the site, told CNN. "To see something like that is pretty incredible."
Fossils are generally found broken apart and pieces are scattered over large areas of land, but the tail was whole.
"The last time I've seen something like that was in a museum," Vavrek added. "I've never found something like this before."
Despite surviving the ages, if the backhoe operator did not stop the machine, the tail fossil would have easily broken apart.
"You handle it carefully, or it's just going to shatter," Vavrek said.
The removal process could take several weeks in mild weather to complete, during which time Tourmaline Oil Corp. has ceased their dig on the site. If the ground freezes, considering the onset of late fall and early winter, the removal could take months to complete.
Alberta is known for its heavy snowfalls, and the first flakes of the season have already fallen, CNN noted.
Whether the rest of the dinosaur is at the same site is unclear at this point, according to the paleontologist.
"We don't know for sure that the rest of the animal is there," Vavrek said. "Sometimes, all you get is what you see."
Considering the dinosaur might be spread over the site, scientists have already carted off nearby soil samples which they will sort through at a separate location at their own pace.
Vavrek was unable to identify the dinosaur from the recovered fossil alone, adding that "if it turns out to be something new, never found before ... it would take even longer."
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