A massive dinosaur fossil has been found by a pipeline inspection crew near Spirit River, Alta.

The 30-metre-long fossilized skeleton was found Tuesday when a backhoe operator working on the Tourmaline Oil Corp. pipeline installation moved some earth, inadvertently breaking off a piece of the fossil.

Thinking he had simply chipped off a section of rock, the backhoe operator laid the piece to the side and turned to resume excavation work.

That’s when he saw the exposed fossil in the embankment in front of him.

As soon as he saw the fossil, the operator stopped digging and work on the site was shut down until experts could be brought in, said Art Wegner, speaking for the Acuren Group Inc.

Palaeontologists from the Tyrell Museum and National Geographic arrived at the site Wednesday and will soon be joined by Pipestone Creek Dinosaur Initiative head palaeontologist, Dr. Matthew Vavrek.

The fossil was found buried about 1.5 metres deep in the Saddle Hills area southwest of Spirit River.

Related on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaurs mating. (Jose Antonio Penas, Science Photo Library)

  • Sauroposeidon dinosaurs mating. (Jose Antonio Penas, Science Photo Library)

  • Pentaceratops dinosaurs mating. (Jose Antonio Penas, Science Photo Library)

  • (Sandy Fritz / Ron Embleton / Omni Magazine)

  • (Sandy Fritz / Ron Embleton / Omni Magazine)

  • Wikimedia Commons/Mario modesto