Grandson visits ROM specimens named after his grandfather

Posted: August 12, 2013 - 09:00 , by Kevin Seymour
Fossils & Evolution, Research | Comments (1) | Comment
Kevin Seymour and Neal Finn's in the collection room.

Recently we had a visit from Neal and Bonnie Finn of Edmonton, Alberta. They came to the ROM on a kind of pilgrimage, to see some fossil specimens that were named after Neal’s grandfather back in 1925. Neal became aware of these specimens when he was “digging” into his family’s genealogical past.

In 1923, Dr. J.J. Finn of Dundurn, Saskatchewan was digging in a bog on his property when he came upon numerous bones and teeth, along with some arrow heads and worked bones. These were sent to Dr. W.A. Parks, the curator of what was then called the Royal Ontario Museum of Palaeontology for identification. Parks actually visited the Finn site in 1924, probably on his way to the famous dinosaur sites in Alberta, in order to obtain more specimens. 

Through his work there, he determined that the site was not very old, probably post-glacial in age, given the associated artifacts. Among them, however, were some curious teeth and bones of a pronghorn antelope that Dr. Parks thought were different enough from the living species of pronghorn that they warranted a description. This description was published in 1925 in the Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, in which he named them a new species, Neomeryx finni, after the good Doctor Finn.

Neal and Bonnie were thrilled to visit the ROM and find that the specimens still held a place of honour in our collections


Comment by Michael Finn

Thanks to Dr. Seymour for sharing the museum's artifacts and a bit of our history with my brother, Neal. I read some of the history of this find and am thrilled as no doubt Neal and Bonnie were that these treasures are a part of Canada's history.

Thank you both for sharing this.
Michael Finn