It was one of the defining moments in the evolution of Tumbler Ridge. In July 2001 palaeontologist Rich McCrea laid down his compass on a projecting piece of rock beside Flatbed Creek, and realized it was the second dinosaur bone ever to be found in the province of British Columbia.
Beside McCrea were Mark Turner and Daniel Helm, and the dinosaur trackway these boys had discovered the previous summer. This was one of the first occurrences to be documented of dinosaur footprints and bone occurring together in the same rock layer, and paved the way for further research.
Thanks to the interest and wave of exploration these discoveries generated, almost 300 bones have since been discovered in the Tumbler Ridge area, from two distinct geological ages. Footprints of many types have been found from five geological formations. Tumbler Ridge has become a centre for palaeontological research in western Canada, and the resulting exhibits and attention have diversified its once flagging economy and helped stimulate tourism. It is hard to believe that all this has happened in the space of just three years.
At the time there was no Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation, no Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre, and therefore nowhere in the region that could accept this important specimen. So it was surrounded in Plaster of Paris, expertly removed, and sent to the nearest facility in BC that could accept it, The Exploration Place in Prince George. It has been on display there for the past three years.
This piece of TR history has now returned ?home?. On 19 October 2004 Bob Campbell, Manager of Curatorial Services at The Exploration Place, brought the bone back to Tumbler Ridge, for it to be added to the museum?s collections and further researched. In future it will form a centerpiece in Tumbler Ridge?s palaeontology exhibits. As the dinosaur Tumbler Ridge dinosaur research proceeds, further exhibit material will be provided to The Exploration Place so that this fascinating story will continue to be told in Prince George.