fossil bird tracks discovered near Tumbler Ridge
For Immediate Release
Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation
Box 1348 Tumbler Ridge, BC V0C 2W0
Contact: Dr Charles Helm, Vice President – 250 242
October 7, 2005
In August 2005 a new dinosaur footprint
site was discovered near Tumbler Ridge by Curtis Lettley, a
Ph. D. candidate at University of Alberta, while doing field
work. He immediately reported it to the Peace Region Palaeontology
Research Centre in Tumbler Ridge, and took the Tumbler Ridge
Museum Foundation palaeontologists, Rich McCrea and Lisa Buckley,
to the site.
The rock slab that Curtis had discovered weighed
about 400 pounds and was partially buried. In addition to small
theropod tracks, it contained natural casts of small (2.5 cm
long) bird tracks. The slab is from the middle Cretaceous in
the Boulder Creek Formation, and is the first known occurrence
of bird tracks in rocks of this formation.
With the assistance
of Ridge Rotors helicopter pilot Aaron Sitter, the slab was
excavated, placed in a net, and flown out by helicopter on
October 4. It is now safely preserved in the Research Centre,
where its covering of lichen is meticulously being removed.
Once this is complete, detailed study can be done.
will form another important display in the BC Dinosaur Discovery
Gallery, which will be developed in 2006. Rich McCrea commented, "The
discovery of bird and dinosaur footprints in the Boulder Creek
Formation opens up yet another rare window into the prehistory
of the Peace Region. We are looking forward to conducting additional
research at this locality".
Recent discoveries in the
same area have included rare pine cone fossils – these
will be featured in next week’s article.
As a result
of this discovery and specimen recovery, another piece in the
puzzle of Tumbler Ridge’s past will be in place, and
exhibited for all British Columbians and visitors to share