Research related to dinosaurs has always aroused great interest among the public. In this context, we have noticed viral posts on social media claiming that scientists have recently found the best preserved dinosaur fossil and that it may even be labeled “dinosaur mummy”. However, our investigation proved that it was part of an April Fool’s joke.
Social media posts
A collection of photos of the supposedly best-preserved dinosaurs ever found was shared by many social media users on April Fool’s Day (1st of April) with the narration below.
Scientists call it the best-preserved dinosaur specimen ever discovered. Found accidentally by surveyors near the upper Wilson Creek area in the Pisgah National Forest, this fossilized theropod is believed to be over 77 million years old, but skin, bones and organs appear to be intact. According to the NC Natural History Museum in Raleigh, which recently unveiled the find, the dinosaur is so well preserved that instead of a “fossil,” we could safely call it a “dinosaur mummy.”
Researchers who examined the find were stunned by its almost unprecedented level of preservation. The creature’s skin, teeth, and even some of its guts were intact – something they had never seen before.
“You don’t have to use a lot of imagination to rebuild it; if you squint a bit, you could almost think he was sleeping,” one researcher said.
While how the dinosaur mummy was able to remain so intact for so long remains a mystery, researchers suggest the theropod may have been swept away by a flooding river and transported to an ancient sea, where it eventually sank. down to the now exposed ocean floor. .
Now thought to be identified as Appalachiosaurus, conservation experts are looking to encode its DNA. Dr James Harvin says: “Knowing that this animal has roamed this area before, we will do everything we can to restore the species. We hope to reintroduce it to its former playground.”
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There were many posts with these image sets, however, the place where the fossils were found was different from each other. These types of similar posts can be found here, here, and here.
These images are spreading virally on Facebook like this.
Even though these were from the April Fool’s joke, the detailed narration meant that a number of social media users had shared the content. Hence, we decided to find out the fact behind these pictures and claim it.
First, we did a reverse image search on Google and were able to find the original images related to these posts. The pictures were of dinosaur models/artwork exhibited by a museum (Dinosaurier Museum Altmühltal) in Germany.
The photographs were uploaded by a concept and content developer from the University of Zurich’s new Natural History Museum called Dennis Hansen. He uploaded these images in October 2021, as shown below.
We also found that another Twitter, in which a user also explained Dennis Hansen’s illustration model
We found no statements made regarding such a discovery by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, nor found any Dr. James Harvin listed in its staff directory.
CheckYourFact had contacted the chief curator of the Gray Fossil Site and Museum for another version of similar viral posts, where he said the museum was “frustrated” to hear about the story and also noted that none of their discovered had retained no skin or organs. The full fact check can be read here
Additionally, more details about the Appalachiosaurus dinosaur mentioned in the viral posts can be found in this fact check by Snopes.
Despite, there were arguments about the largest dinosaur in the world, we were able to find Australia’s largest dinosaur fossil and the article can be read from here. Fossils have also been found in Argentina of a huge dinosaur.
Read also: Best photo of the century?
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According to our investigation, we were able to discover that the images in the viral social media posts did not actually depict a dinosaur fossil or mummy. The posts were originally created as part of an April Fool’s joke but were shared widely due to the detailed version of the storytelling. The images were just a dinosaur model created by artist Dennis Hansen for display in a German museum.
Title:Images of the best preserved dinosaur fossils? Find out the facts…
Fact check by: Kalana Krishantha