July 29, 2003

Six Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation volunteers rescued a 190 pound dinosaur footprint cast 29 July. The footprint was discovered a few weeks ago by Rich McCrea, the U of A palaeontologist, and Larry White, who recently received training at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

It was lying loose in the creek bed below a waterfall in the bottom of a 300 foot deep canyon. Close by were half a dozen other dinosaur footprints. McCrea identified it as having been made by an ornithopod dinosaur, but its distinguishing feature was its size: 48 cms across and 42 cms from heel to toe. This is by far the largest footprint discovered so far in the Dunvegan Formation in theTumbler Ridge area (larger ornithopod footprints had previously been described in the older Gething Formation in the Peace Canyon).

With the help of visiting palaeontology students from Wisconsin, the footprint was cajoled a few hundred meters downstream in a hockey bag to a break in the canyon wall, where it rested a few weeks. Finally it was placed on a wilderness emergency stretcher, and pulled out of the canyon with ropes and the sweat of the museum’s human workhorses, followed by the compulsory weigh-in.

If left alone, this print would in time have been destroyed by floods and the ravages of freeze-thaw cycles. It has now found a secure home in the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation’s field station, where it will be exhibited.

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