This report describes a unique offering: an exceptionally well-preserved, huge, armored dinosaur skeleton named Sherman. This virtually complete, mostly articulated skeleton belongs to an ankylosaur—a heavily armored dinosaur with a large, club-like structure at the end of its tail. This 80-million-year-old fossil features intact bony armor and preserved soft tissue. The skeleton represents one of the largest specimens known, belonging to an individual measuring approximately 23 ft. (7 m) long, with a 99% completeness estimate of the skull and skeleton.
The state of preservation of this skeleton is remarkable, in that it shows no postmortem erosion damage of the bones, as is common in most fossils. In addition, the bone surface is beautifully preserved, showing fine detail, which greatly enhances its aesthetic appeal and display quality. The “mummified” skeleton is currently kept “as found” in its matrix encasing to maintain its paleontological integrity. It is unmatched in completeness and quality, and highly rated in scientific importance. Numerous research opportunities are inherit in this specimen, adding to its prestigious status.
No comparable specimens exist in museum or private collections. Current ankylosaur specimens exhibited on display in museums are incomplete and pale in comparison, as they lack any “mummified” tissue. This rare specimen would make for an exciting and valuable visitor attraction.
Nearly the entire upper body of the dinosaur is covered with armor, including massive horns, sharp spikes, bony knobs, and oval plates. The bony knobs and plates are known as osteoderms and were covered with skin, similar to those of modern crocodiles. Along with its armored plating, ankylosaurs had two rows of spikes along their body. Another characteristic feature of the ankylosaur is its clubbed tail, which was used as a weapon: reinforced tendons connecting the vertebrae to the club enhanced support and added formidable power (see close-up photos).