Students bring feathered dinosaur to life

NAIT Digital Media and IT (DMIT) students have brought to life a feathered dinosaur that roamed the...

NAIT Digital Media and IT (DMIT) students have brought to life a feathered dinosaur that roamed the prehistoric swamps of Alberta 73 million years ago during the late Cretaceous Period. (Photo Supplied/NAIT)

Kevin Maimann, Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:16 AM ET

EDMONTON -- NAIT students have brought a startling dinosaur discovery to life.

NAIT Digital Media and IT (DMIT) students made a five-minute documentary, The First Feathered Dinosaurs of the Western World, that aired on Discovery Channel's Daily Planet last week.

The short film recreates a pair of Ornithomimosauruses (dubbed "ostrich dinosaurs") that Frank Hadfield discovered in Drumheller, Alta., seven years ago. The unusually well preserved specimens were the first feathered dinosaurs found in North America.

"It's one thing to find (the fossils), but to see it brought to life with the detail they put into the project was amazing," Hadfield said.

Hadfield, who moved to Drumheller 20 years ago to hunt for fossils, found two small claws sticking out of a riverbed while out walking one evening.

To his surprise, the claws were connected to a fossilized body of a dinosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous Period, roughly 73 million years ago.

After a dig uncovered the rest of the body, Hadfield named it Woody because its skull shape reminded him of cartoon character Woody the Woodpecker.

Clear impressions of feathers were left in the dinosaur's skin, which transformed the way scientists look at the species.

Miraculously, he found an adult version of the same species nearby just one year later. Andy, as Hadfield named it, was equally well preserved.

"Once we had direct evidence of feathers on these things, that changes how we look at how they would have moved. So they look at modern things like emus, ostriches, things like that," Hadfield said.

"But the level of detail and the preservation of the feathers, that's really what sets these things apart "¦ It's like these things were frozen in time."


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