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Dinosaur 'mummy' found in North Dakota

Unusual ground conditions have helped to preserve a 67M-year-old dinosaur, complete with soft tissue including skin, muscle and tendons encased in the rock of North Dakota in the US.

The "mummification" of the 3.5t hadrosaur, which is being studied under a huge computerised tomography (CT) scanner, is put down to ground conditions that included acidic waterlogged sediments. These triggered the rapid deposit of minerals and trapped organic molecules before they decayed.

Although fossilised, the preservation of the soft tissue of the hadrosaur, a 13m long herbivore, has shown palaeontologists that the dinosaur had as much as 25% more muscle mass than orginally believed and could therefore have moved much faster than scientists thought.

The CT scanner, claimed to be the world's largest and owned by the Boeing Corporation, has started to detail the fossil down to individual grains enabling researchers to see the subtle textures of the hadrosaur's skin.

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