PROVIDES UPDATE ON TUMBLER RIDGE DINOSAUR BONE EXCAVATION
July 16, 2003
Palaeontologist Rich McCrea, team leader of the Tumbler
Ridge Museum Foundation’s dinosaur excavation project,
addressed an enthusiastic audience of a hundred and ten
residents and visitors in the Tumbler Ridge Public Library
Wednesday 16 July. McCrea is one of the top three dinosaur
footprint experts in North America.
He reviewed the fascinating story of exploration, started
by local kids, which has led to the discovery of dinosaur
footprints in all nine canyons so far targeted. Skin
impressions and dewclaw impressions, BC’s longest
accessible trackway, the province’s biggest currently
visible collection of footprints, and a pathological
footprint are amongst the highlights of these discoveries.
He then went on to discuss the chance find of BC’s
first (and western Canada’s oldest) accumulation
of dinosaur bones in a Tumbler Ridge canyon last summer,
and illustrated the work currently in progress. Over
$30000 had to be raised by the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation,
allowing a helicopter to fly in a 25 KW generator which
powers two air compressors , which in turn enable the
team of palaeontological experts to dissect the rock
with air hammers and air scribes.
Bone has now been discovered in six blocks of rock in
the canyon bottom, as well as in a number of places on
the surrounding cliffs, legitimizing the use of the term "bonebed".
Most of the work done over the past three weeks has involved
removing overburden, but in the last few days the scientists
are coming across increasing numbers of new bones, and
are approaching the main bone-bearing layers.
few weeks should prove very exciting. McCrea will provide
further public updates on the progress of the dig.
He indicated that there are years of potential work that
could be done at this site.
The bones excavated this year will be flown into Tumbler
Ridge. The Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation is currently
acquiring a suitable home for them, including storage,
preparation and display space, that will allow visitors
to appreciate this ancient northeastern BC treasure
as it is dissected out of its encasing rock over the