Saturday, December 16, 2006
Last week a volunteer and I removed panneling concealing shelves of field jackets from the 70's and 80's. I've heard stories from individuals who excavated specimens at that time, that there was a fish fossilized in another fish. This stirred our imaginations and one of the first things we did was look for that field jacket. There are some jackets we haven't gotten to yet but we have discovered a fairly complete shark vertebral column and a fish with its tail still intact. Who knows what else we will find.
Monday, December 04, 2006
CFDC is so lucky to have a series of ads already on the sign.
To all you Morden locals, please check it out and tell us what you think.
To everyone else in the world, please be patient while we get some pics to post on our blog.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Earlier in 2006 a Tyrannosaurus rex femur (thigh bone) was recovered from Montana. The 70 million year old fossil was found to have soft tissue within it. Somehow the soft tissue had resisted fossilization. It is said the tissue includes blood vessels, bone cells and possibly blood cells. As to whether or not DNA can be extracted is yet to be determined. The likely hood of DNA surviving is extremely rare.
The article is from the California Academy of Sciences, Science Now and I would encourage you to have a look. Images of the soft tissue are available at the site.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
That was not the end of my excitement for the morning. Soon after about 15 cm away I found a second fish vertebra of approximately the same size. They are currently being cleaned and I will present the images in a future blog with other remains recovered from the stomach contents.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Following up on "Betsy" (a short-necked plesiosaur discovered in 2004) we are now down to the final field jacket. Yesterday with the assistance of volunteers we were able to cut the remaining jacket down to a workable level and lifted it onto a work bench. This is the largest jacket from this specimen, approximately 1 metre by 1.5 metres, weighing almost 400 pounds. Most of the skeletal remains including, hips, shoulders and numerous vertebrae are within this jacket.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
I have noticed some interesting things while extracting the skull; stomach contents have been found within the skull region including many fish teeth possibly from Enchodus approximately 1cm in length. The interior of the skull also appears to be flipped and is in the opposite orientation of how it should be. Once I have a closer look I will hopefully have more answers about the specimen and possibly some clues as to where the rostrum (front of the skull) is located at the site.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
It is encouraging to find students in Manitoba pursuing a career in paleontology. There are many paleontology resources our province has to offer that are under utilized. In that respect the CFDC will be hosting a paleontology symposium targeting the promotion of paleontology (both invertebrate and vertebrate) within Manitoba.
I hope Chris will enjoy his time with the CFDC and hope it will lead to future contacts and networking. Welcome aboard.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
The field season has officially come to an end for the CFDC. Many new specimens were brought in this year, consisting of fragments and solitary bones to partially completed skeletons. One of the last specimens removed from the field was M-06-02-03 (shown above) a partially articulated and complete mosasaur approximately 5 metres in lenght. It will be prepared and identified over the winter months.
A more detailed description of the specimens collected this year will be provided on the CFDC website www.discoverfossils.com under Field Research.
I'd just like to thank all of the field volunteers who helped to make this past field season a successful one. Hope to see everyone back again next year.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Promotion of the CFDC was evident and greatly received by colleagues. Emphasis was placed on the upcoming MPS in Morden of 2007.
The Canadian Museum of Nature was fantastic. The new gallery space was stunning and even had that new paint smell. Well done to those who put in all that hard work.
Networking was very productive. There may be a few excavation projects with other institutions in the upcoming field seasons. I'll keep you posted once I have more particulars.
I'd like to thank the CFDC, Town of Morden, the Canadian Museums Association and the Department of Canadian Heritage for funding assistance to attend this conference.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
My apologies again but there will be some exciting stuff you have to check out, both from the CFDC and interesting news in the paleo world.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
The field season for the CFDC is coming to an end soon. I hope the weather stays nice until the end of October.
I am currently finishing up a few things with my volunteer fossil crew. Some last projects include bringing in 4 remaining field jackets of a mosasaur and the back of Betsy's skull, shown on the left.
I will be composing a piece for the Morden Times, our local newspaper describing the fossil finds found by the CFDC, visitors and researchers in November.
Friday, September 15, 2006
Recently the CFDC purchased 109 acres along the Manitoba Escarpment southwest from the Town of Miami. The potential for fossil preservation is fantastic, with majority of the fossils in the CFDC collection being collected from that area. The only problem was road access. There wasn't any leading into the property.
Thanks to the Rural Municipality of Thompson we now have the beginnings of a road. This road will allow groups to travel to the dig site and view fossils being excavated.
I can not tell you how excited I was. On Thursday, I took our Executive Director for a ride to drive on it, and all I kept saying was "this is awesome". The scenery just takes your breath away.
So in the spirit of things, all I can say to the R.M. of Thompson is "this is awesome"!
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Today the CFDC fossil crew were out at Betsy's site (a plesiosaur discovery in 2004) continuing our search for the "nose". No luck with that, however we did stumble upon a nice tooth. Let's see if anyone out there has any guess as to what animal this tooth belongs to.
The search goes on.
I'd also like to say thanks to our administator who's done an absolute wonderful job. You'll be missed!
Thanks also to all who gave a helping hand during the course of the summer. With the assistance of its dedicated volunteers, the CFDC will continue to conduct field work until the end of October.
Well, as you can see in the pic, the CFDC had it own booth at the Corn 'n Apple Festival in Morden. Although not much of our gift shop stock was sold, we were very successful in being an information centre directing the curious public to the museum for a visit. A new booth will be made next year with some great jazzy paleo stuff to draw people to it.
Our newly redesigned Bruce Gallery, with great new images and murals plus sound effects, was open for the occasion. Actually, a lot of children were really scared with the sounds and so we had to turn the volume down! What a great weekend! In fact, we had more than 500 visitors to our museum over the three day festival, this is about three times more than usual.
Great job all those Board Members, staff and volunteers concerned. Let's do it all again next year. That's all for now.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Friday, August 18, 2006
Monday, August 14, 2006
Thursday, August 10, 2006
There is a new location where the geology is a bit confusing to us... we're not sure if it is pre or post glacial. The structural geology is also new and exciting for us. This is something we've never seen in the area before.
I'm glad to say that YES we found what appears to be the base of the skull from our plesiosaur Betsy. I'm now heading out with the fossil crew to continue the search... all we need to find are the flippers. I'll keep you posted over the next couple of days.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Friday, June 30, 2006
As promised in previous postings, I've attached images to show the fossil material that's being removed from the matrix, or gastric residue, left behind. Most of the images are at 60x magnification.
Fish Tooth Fish Tooth (10x) Fish Tooth
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
The specimen which MacGregor Elementary School discovered last week was excavated by the Fossil Crew. The specimen is of a mosasaur and is comprised of a jaw fragment, 3 vertebrae, 3 ribs and other fragments yet to be identified. I'm glad to announce this class is our Paleo Star of the Week! WAY TO GO!
Only 1 field jacket remains at the dig site and by the end of the week it will be brought in. I'm hoping to have the other remains prepped and ready for display by the end of next week. Make sure you come down for a visit to view the new findings.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
Individuals often ask if we plant fossils for the students... the answer is no. Everything that is found is genuine. We know fossils have been found there in the past and there's always hope we'll find more.
The students act as museum staff for the day helping us locate new specimens to add to our collection. This past week has been awesome! On Monday, one class discovered parts of a plesiosaur and on Tuesday, a class found part of a mosasaur's lower jaw. We're heading out today with another class. I'll keep you posted if anything else turns up. Keep in mind both of these finds are from the same dig site.
We'll have to wait until the end of the week to find out which class is our Paleo Star of the Week. You can see the "Paleo Star of the Week" on our web page www.discoverfossils.com under programs and tours. Good luck to all!
Thursday, June 08, 2006
It was a pleasure to have an under-graduate student from the University of Winnipeg visiting the CFDC. The student conducted research on the Pierre Shale Formation and the Niobrara Formation along the Manitoba Escarpment.
We spent the entire week out in the field viewing rock units, measuring, data collecting and sampling. The samples will be analyzed in the fall. I think its been a great experience for the CFDC, the University of Winnipeg and the student. I'd like to see the CFDC partner with more organizations in the future, especially when everyone can benefit.
I'd like to thank everyone who made our student feel welcome, especially those who helped with accommodations. Thank you!
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
I've just returned from a trip to Albuquerque where I attended a conference on Cretaceous Vertebrates from the Western Interior. It was awesome to say the least!!! I had the opportunity of meeting colleagues from the Western United States and participate in a lecture series on current research for the Western Interior.
Did I also mention I was lucky enough to head out to the San Juan Basin for a field trip viewing Cretaceous rock units? I've attached some images for you to see how beautiful New Mexico is. I must admit we are a little spoiled at the CFDC... we can drive directly to almost all of our dig sites and we don't have to carry any tools or supplies. I wouldn't trade it for anything!
Monday, May 01, 2006
The CFDC also presented the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre Earth Science Award, consisting of a plaque and invitation to excavate with me at one of the dig sites. Winners were chosen from the Elementary, Junior and Intermediate Levels. Their projects were great. I look forward to seeing more earth science projects especially paleontological ones.
Monday, April 17, 2006
It was great to be out in the field once again. It's going to be a great season for collecting. I'll be heading out next week to finalize our field plans. I'll keep you posted.
Friday, April 07, 2006
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Well, this is it! Our new highway sign which is situated on Highway 3 on the east side of Morden as you apporaoch town about 6 km away.
The sign is actually about 20 feet wide and combined with the Star Attraction signs it should really help visitors to find their way to us.
We are quite excited about this as it is our first ever highway sign, we hope that all our visitors and locals enjoy it.
Dave Wilkinson - Executive Director
Monday, April 03, 2006
"Beast Feast" dinner and dance.
Cavemen and Cavewomen from all different clans dressed up in their finest furs and skins to feast and dance around a fire. The feast included mosasaur ribs and pterodactyl wings. Mmmhhh!
Supporters helped raise funds for the CFDC in the form of live auctions, silent auctions and prize draws.
Best costume caveman and cavewoman dawned crowns and wands for the evening.
Thank-you everyone who contributed including sponsors, volunteers and staff!
Hope to see you next year. See our website for more pictures and information.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
We spent time with Bruce and Betsy and even let the host excavate with me on a field jacket. He only got a small brush and no pick. Baby steps first.
Hopefully there'll be more CFDC on the television in the future.
Saturday, March 11, 2006
That's right we're literally dissecting out fish bones and teeth from a hard matrix (rock) and viewing our finds under a microscope. The process is a little more tedious and complicated but we love doing it.
I'm hoping to have enough preliminary research to present a poster at the upcoming Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP) Symposium in Ottawa. I'll keep you posted. Keep your fingers crossed, everything goes well.
Monday, March 06, 2006
Over the next week staff and volunteers will be working hard doing a spring cleaning at the museum. Yes that means Bruce and Plesi are both being dusted and readied for the summer tourists. They should be nice and clean for all the visitors they will soon meet.
BRUCE and PLESI
Additional office space is being arranged for summer staff and volunteers with their very own computer. This will make for exciting times at the CFDC.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
The CFDC has been opperating for 35 years. It began as the "Morden & District Museum" and just recently in 2004 the name was changed to Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre.
We now have the largest collection in Canada of Marine Reptile Fossils from the Cretaceous Period ranging from Mosasaurs to Giant Squid. To see more please visit our website at www.discoverfossils.com .
Throughout the year there will be events and discoveries which we will try to mention in this blog on a regular basis. Questions or comments are invited.