Monthly Archive: December Pala
Today, Caleb Brown and colleagues announced the discovery of Canada’s newest dinosaur, Thescelosaurus assiniboiensis – the first new dinosaur species to be discovered in Saskatchewan since 1926. The new dinosaur is named after the historic District of Assiniboia, where it was found. The small-bodied, two-legged plant-eater lived alongside the famed Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops, at the very end of the age of dinosaurs.
After three days of successful fieldwork on the chilly Grand Rapids Uplands, we return – toting a fresh batch of fossils – to The Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg. This is the home turf of my colleague, Graham Young, and almost a second home for me.
Ah, the romance of fieldwork. There’s nothing quite like waiting for the morning sun to rise high enough to illuminate a cold, wet outcrop, so that one can spend the next 8 or 9 hours kneeling in mud and splitting razor-sharp rock slabs. But we have hot coffee in the thermos, dry gloves in the pack, and — hopefully — there are some new fossils to be found!
Recently, we visited at the Vertebrate Palaeontology Lab to see how dinosaur bones are extracted from their plaster field jackets after they are hauled back from the field by palaeontologists like Dr. David Evans.
But where does the ROM store these fossils once they are free from their rock matrix? Welcome to Vertebrate Palaeontology Collections room, housing more than 75,000 fossilized bone specimens ranging in size from small toes to an entire row of Hadrosaur skulls!
The weather forecast was pretty much on the money, and a dismal dawn yields to thunder-squalls rolling across the tundra. But, after breakfast and a second cup of coffee, the rain eases and we are a shade more optimistic about our flight out later this morning. Time for one last walkabout of our temporary home.
Away to the airport this morning to see Ed off to Winnipeg - there goes our ace bear protection and GPS expert! At least we had a chance to do the firearms familiarization before his departure, so all are up to speed on handling various pyrotechnic deterrents. I’ll ride shotgun in Ed’s absence, with Matt as backup, and incoming member Sean adds another pair of sharp eyes to the fossil team.
Today, we thought we’d offer you a behind-the-scenes look at the Vertebrate Palaeontology Lab to see what happens to dino bones between being excavated and being put on display or used for research.