Photo contributed Researchers have identified this specimen discovered at Olds College as the rare Simoedosaurus.

One Olds College employee made a 60 million-year-old discovery that will help advance research of a particularly old species.

“We store all the rocks that are dug up from around campus at our shop in case we want to use them in landscaping,” said Leona Megli, a grounds technician at Olds College. “I was looking at one of the rocks and thought, that kind of looks like a fossil.”

After contacting the Royal Tyrrell Museum, it was soon discovered that Megli had come across an extremely well-preserved specimen known as a Simoedosaurus,  one of two types of an extinct reptile called champsosaurs.

“These are very much crocodile-looking things,” said Dr. Don Brinkman, director of Preservation and Research at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

“We’re really quite pleased. It’s a beautiful, beautiful specimen.”

Brinkman said this Simoedosaurus fossil is from the time just after dinosaurs, and is only the third of it’s kind to be discovered in North America.

Megli said she’s glad to have helped further research.

“I think it’s the last thing you’d think to find at work.”

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