From the Field: Southern Alberta Dinosaur Project 2011 – Visitors!

Posted: July 13, 2011 - 11:10 , by David Evans

July 6-8: Visitors

These past few days we have had some welcome visitors to Camp. First, some of our colleagues from the Montana State University and the Museum of the Rockies joined us for a day on July 6th. They are working the same series of rocks just a few kilometers south of us in Montana, and wanted to see what we are finding and where we are finding it on this side of the border. We also had a reporter from the Toronto Star join the crew to see ROM dinosaur field research first hand.

Hand claw of raptor

The delicate hand claw of a ‘raptor’.

First, we took a big tour around the area to see some of the key sites that we have worked on these past 8 years, and to get a feel for the rock strata and types of fossils we find in the area. The first stop was the Manyberries pocket where we saw rocks from the famous Dinosaur Park Formation that date to approximately 75 million years ago. From there, we headed back in time in the rock column. We stopped at the McPheeters Bone Bed, to see the work progressing here. This bone bed, in the Upper unit of the Oldman Formation, is approximately 76.5 million years old. On our way in, I found a decent dromaeosaur claw (velociraptor-type dinosaur), which are very rare.

Site of discovery of Albertaceratops

Dr. Michael Ryan, who discovered and named Albertaceratops, at the original discovery site.

From here, we drove to the south side and saw the South Side Ceratopsian, and then headed east a few kilometers to see the quarry site where the holotype skull of Albertaceratops nesmoi was collected by Michael Ryan and the Royal Tyrrell Museum in 2002. (A holotype is the specimen used to scientifically describe a new species.) These sites are approximately 78-79 million years old.

Read more about David’s dinosaur adventures in the field and see our Summersaurus Dino series for more on the ROM’s hunt for dinos!