The Pit that keeps on Giving

Lynsey Kitching

 

Very exciting news was announced at the Geopark symposium on Sunday. At the end of Lisa Buckley’s presentation on the progress being made to extract BC’s most complete dinosaur, she was able to fill us in on the developments made during this year’s field and research season.

As the field season was winding down and almost over Buckley kept finding more femurs. Since one dinosaur can only have two femurs, the question is now plausible that the site may actually be a bone bed.

Buckely says, “We have many, many femurs from this site. Unless we are dealing with a hadrosaur that has six legs and a couple of them different sizes, we are dealing with something a little bit different than just a single articulated animal.

We are now getting into bone bed territory. We have several femurs accounted for that could not have come from the same animal.”

Buckley thinks there may have been a flood or some type of event that whipped out a group of hadrosaurs all at once.

Buckley says, “If we are dealing with a bone bed, some of these bone beds that occur in Alberta in the same formation, can contain anywhere from 40 to 4,000 individuals. Something similar could have caused the demise of multiple duckbill dinosaurs on the BC side,” she continues, “This is extremely exciting because we were actually thinking we would start slowing down on this excavation after this year. Now, we have to kick it into high gear in this site. We have to remove a heck of a lot more rock than we ever thought we could move.”

At this time, the team doesn’t know how many individuals we are dealing with and the only way we are going to know is by lots of digging.

“Unfortunately, neither Rich nor I are equipped with x-ray vision,” says Buckley.

So for the next little bit this is going to be the focus of the paleontology team’s field activity, exposing this bone bed and seeing how much is preserved, how many animals are there. Buckely asks, “Are we finally going to have a skull? Are we going to be able to find the specific identity of the duckbill dinosaur we are dealing with?”

Dr. Charles Helm after the presentation said, “This is just so exciting and I’m just wondering where this is going and how long the momentum will continue before someone in Victoria wakes up and says, ‘Ok we need to be involved’. In a sense the longer we wait, the bigger the momentum gets and the more discoveries keep coming in the case just becomes more compelling and you have to argue it less.”