GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. - Paleontologists were thrilled when they found the fossilized remains of a duck-billed dinosaur in northwestern Alberta last month.
But joy turned quickly to despair when they returned to the site near the Red Willow River a few days ago and found that vandals had smashed the Hadrosaur skeleton to pieces.
The Pipestone Creek Dinosaur Initiative says the fossil was discovered by paleontologist Phil Bell and a University of Alberta team on June 15.
They partially prepared it for removal, then reburied it for protection until it could be fully removed later this month.
Bell returned to the site on Thursday and found the specimen — which was about one meter long and 80 centimetres wide — had been destroyed.
The initiative says RCMP are investigating.
The group says it is at least the fourth act of fossil poaching and vandalism in the region in the last month and a half.