Knee­hill County staff un­cov­ers di­nosaur bones

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Pa­trick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail sub­mit­ted

While comb­ing through the garbage left by peo­ple at the base of the Orkney View­point, one Knee­hill County em­ployee found some­thing that was left by his­tory.

On one of the gru­el­ing walks at the bot­tom of the cliff to pile garbage, pok­ing around, Cole Christie dis­cov­ered the re­mains of a di­nosaur. He care­fully mapped out the lo­ca­tion and went to one of the big­gest names in di­nosaurs to fig­ure out what it was. He con- tacted fa­mous palaeon­tol­o­gist Jack Horner, who was able to iden­tify it through a pic­ture as be­ing the jaw­bone of a Hadrosaur. He also con­tacted staff at the Royal Tyrrell Mu­seum who also con­firmed the find. Christie learned they are fairly com­mon in the area.

Fran­cois Ther­rien, Cu­ra­tor of Di­nosaur palaeon­tol­ogy at the Tyrrell re­ceived an email from Christie.

“I had a look at his pho­tos and it looks like part of a jaw

of a duck-billed di­nosaur, or Hadrosaur,” said Ther­rien. “It was badly bro­ken up so it looks like it has been ex­posed for a while.

He is in­ter­ested in ex­plor­ing more.

“It is worth in­ves­ti­gat­ing be­cause when you are talk­ing about the skull el­e­ments of a di­nosaur, you al­ways get ex­cited be­cause maybe there may be more of the skull out there. But based on the shape of the bone, it looks like it has been ex­posed for a while, but it is def­i­nitely a site I want to go have a look and see if the rest of the skull is more in­tact up in the cliff,” said Ther­rien.

Ther­rien ex­plains that a Hadrosaur is very com­mon in this area.

“They were as com­mon as deer are to­day back in the cre­ta­ceous, if you walk in the bad­lands and stum­ble on bro­ken bones, nine times out of 10, they would be from a duck billed di­nosaur.

While the find may not be of great sci­en­tific sig­nif­i­cance, it can be pretty ex­cit­ing to find bones, espe­cially in light of so many dis­cov­er­ies found by am­a­teurs.

“Ev­ery year we prob­a­bly get over 100 re­ports from the pub­lic, and most of them turn out to be rocks or bones of no great sci­en­tific value, but ev­ery once in a while you do find some­thing of sig­nif­i­cance,” he said.

Some of these in­clude Black Beauty, a T-Rex dis­cov­ered by fish­er­men, the Devil’s Coulee egg find, dis­cov­ered by a young girl or the Lep­to­cer­atops, found by a Fort MacLeod man after the 2013 flood.

“There have been many sig­nif­i­cant dis­cov­er­ies made by mem­bers of the pub­lic do­ing rou­tine ac­tiv­i­ties, whether at work or maybe on va­ca­tion,” he said. “Even though we would love to, we can’t be ev­ery­where in the prov­ince, so that is why we rely on the gen­eral pub­lic to be our eyes and ears in the field.”

He said Christie did the right thing in con­tact­ing the mu­seum.

“If you ever find a di­nosaur bone in Al­berta, just snap a pic­ture and send it to the Royal Tyrrell Mu­seum and some­one will get back to you and we may go and in­ves­ti­gate,” he said. “What Cole did was cor­rect, he left the bones where they are, snapped a photo, got the GPS co­or­di­nates and re­ported the find to the mu­seum. This is what we en­cour­age ev­ery­one to do if they find di­nosaur bones. They could be of sig­nif­i­cance.”

Knee­hill em­ployee Cole Christie dis­cov­ered this par­tial Hadrosaur jaw while clean­ing up the Orkney View­point.

Cole Christie dis­cov­ered a hadrosaur while work­ing for Knee­hill County com­plet­ing a cleanup at the Orkney View­point.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.