August 11, 2003

For sixteen years Kevin Sharman was one of the geologists at the Quintette Mine near Tumbler Ridge. More recently he has been working on the reclamation of the Quintette and Bullmoose mines following their closure. His knowledge of the area and its rocks made him an obvious choice as one of the scientific advisors to the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation. And he is now fulfilling that role in much more than an advisory capacity – bitten by the dino fever that is gripping Tumbler Ridge, he is hot on the discovery trail.

Four consecutive important discoveries have established Sharman’s reputation as one of the best Tumbler trackers. His warm-up was with a series of starfish impressions on a 200 meter-long fossilized beach (now known locally as the "Sharman Shore"). Next he found an ankylosaur handprint and a theropod footprint, the first dinosaur prints ever found in the Goodrich Formation.

Then he found a trackway on a near vertical rock wall at a nearby gas well. With the expertise of Rich McCrea, western Canada’s dinosaur footprint authority, dozens of footprints have been identified on this wall. The site, which is in the Gates Formation, and shows a different population of dinosaurs than that at the well-known sites close to town. The specialty at this site is the large theropods (carnivores) with prints up to half a meter wide.

Finally, on a hike in the mountains on 1 August he found a theropod print on a mountain-top south of the Bullmoose mine, took a GPS reading, and carried out the 65 pound rock on his back to the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation’s Field Station for McCrea to confirm. The significance of this find in a package of rocks known as the Minnes Group lies in its age – being at the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary, it is older by a half than the other Peace Region material, and therefore the oldest dinosaur material in Canada’s northwest.

Kevin sees the recent discoveries as one more reason to enjoy living in the area. "I have probably walked by many dinosaur tracks over the years without noticing them. It took two kids with a sense of imagination to get us all to open our eyes to the rich fossil treasures in the Tumbler Ridge area. I’m sure that with many more sets of eyes looking, this is just the beginning of the exciting discoveries."

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