It isn’t every day that researchers collect a dinosaur jaw—or uncover the remains of fossilized bugs. So paleontologists couldn’t think their luck when, in 2010, they discovered the 75-million-year-old jawbone of a duck-billed hadrosaur in Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada, topped with a 7-centimeter-wide blob of amber including traces of trees and sap-sucking aphids (above).
The “remarkable” two-for-one fossil would have been maintained in an incredibly unlikely chain of events, the scientists compose today in Scientific Reports. The paleontologists think that after the Prosaurolophus hadrosaur passed away—and the flesh had actually rotted off its jawbone—it cleaned into a river. There, a blob of sticky resin from either a redwood or an araucarian conifer tree likewise fell. The blob, including an unfortunate aphid, cleaned up versus the bone and was pushed versus it by the circulation of water, the researchers argue. It was then covered in sediment for 10s of countless years, throughout which time the resin solidified into amber.
The discover—the very first of its kind in North America—brings a freight of tricks about the dinosaur’s environment. For instance, the plant and insect traces inside validate what lots of paleontologists currently assumed: that some hadrosaurs, consisting of the 9-meter-long Prosaurolophus, eaten conifers near seaside floodplains.