That preview image is NOT an artist’s recreation.
It is a photograph.
As yet unnamed Nodosaur, mid-/late-K, ca. 110,000,000 ya
… The body sank back-first onto the ocean floor, kicking up soupy mud that engulfed it. Minerals infiltrated the skin and armor and cradled its back, ensuring that the dead nodosaur would keep its true-to-life form as eonsā?? worth of rock piled atop it.
… But already the fossil is providing new insights into the structure of nodosaursā?? armor. Reconstructing armor usually requires educated guesswork, as the bony plates, called osteoderms, scatter early in the decaying process. Not only did the osteoderms on this nodosaur preserve in place, but so did traces of the scales in between.
Whatā??s more, sheaths once made of keratinā??the same material thatā??s in human fingernailsā??still coat many of the osteoderms, letting paleontologists see precisely how these sheaths exaggerated the armorā??s size and shape. ā??Iā??ve been calling this one the Rosetta stone for armor,ā? says Donald Henderson, curator of dinosaurs at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.
The universe is awesome.