Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I Love the Gammon Ferruginous!

        It was an emotional day saying goodbye to all the glorious finds found this year-- the Xiphactinus from the Xiphactinus Killzone, Matt's Xiphactinus jaws from the embankment, Katie and Kathryn's mosasaur, my little fish verts and teeth, and of course, to Andrea's dead coyote and horse. CFDC Field Season is not quite over yet (you still have time to book dig tours!) but us university students are heading back to school. And we had a wonderful last week full of exciting finds and fun times.
        Thank-you to all the wonderful dig-tour groups we had booked for our final week. During the past week, my group found a poorly-preserved mosasaur vertebra (but it was still grandly large), one of Kathryn's groups expanded and found more vertebrae from the mosasaur skeleton, and Matt's group found more fossils from the mosasaur, Angus, who was our big find in 2008!
        Morden's big Corn & Apple Festival was this past weekend and the CFDC offered discounted dig tours to the public. One lucky family found a Hesperonis femur (thigh bone). And more skeletal elements from the mosasaur were also found! We also had a special visitor, Flora Marcelino, Manitoba's Minister of Culture, Heritage, and Tourism! Abigail Williams also visited us on the weekend, she was one of our paleostars who worked in the Death Assemblage in 2008.
        On our last day the whole fossil crew went out to the field for one last adventure. And the year's final "Perfect Score" winner was decided... congrats Matthew Duda! For getting the highest rating museum and dig tours this month!

We heart the Gammon Ferruginous (and sunscreen).
Being the last day I decided to reply to some frequently asked questions floating around:
  • We have more than just one dig-site, we have several we visit in a season.
  •  Bruce is the largest mosasaur in all of Canada, he's 43ft and found in 1974. 
  • Our recent find is a 15ft fish called Xiphactinus. We have its jaws on display, while the rest of his skeleton needs to be prepped from its fossil jacket. Come about this winter and we'll have more of it on display.
  •  Yes! We offer actual fossil digging to the public! However, you must be 10 years old to come out on our dig tours!
  • The creatures in our museum are not from Lake Agassiz. Lake Agassiz occurred only 10 000 years ago and was a fresh-water lake. Our creatures swam in the Western Interior Seaway, which was 8 000 000 years ago and was a salt-water sea! 
  •  Yes!!! You can take pictures!!!
-Jaclyn Kozak

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Summer Fun is All Done!

      The Summer Fun Day Camp wrapped up the program for the summer this past Tuesday with a great group for the last session, making fossil jewelry! It has been a crazy, fun, exciting summer for the day camp, having more participants than ever before! We had so much fun this summer, every day the kids were so full of energy and enthusiasm for the crafts and activities we had planned. We would like to give an extra-big-Bruce-sized-thank-you to all the participants and their parents for being a part of the Summer Fun Program, we hope you all had as much fun as we did! A special thank you to our regular participants, Adam, Jill, Emily, Will, Emma, Ben, Naomi, Sydney, Mayah, Agape, just to name some! These kids always came to camp with a big smile and a great attitude; our staff got to know them and always looked forward to them coming! We also had a number of out of towner participants, Kaylene, Teryn, William, Joey, Vivian, Max, and Brody, came for a few days of camp for the second year in a row all the way from the Lockport area! We were super happy to see this awesome group return, and had tons of fun doing activities with them! And remember, the museum is open all winter, so feel free to stop by and say hi to Bruce and his friends!


Hope everyone had a great summer, and enjoy the school year!



Sacha Debreuil

Youth Program Coordinator

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Teeth, Scales, and Cookies!

        It's been another fishy week at the CFDC. The new Fish of the Cretaceous exhibit is open! Featuring a 6ft Pachyrhizodus fish. The exhibit also showcases other 80 million-year old fish such as-- the Xiphactinus, Cimolichthys, Enchodus, and Petanogmius!
         Antoine, our five-day-fossil dig tour participant from Quebec, found an Enchodus tooth on Monday. Enchodus had fang-like teeth-- perfect for sinking into prey! Also on the same day, we found two mosasaur ribs. All this came out of our Xiphactinus Killzone site. This is the site the media has been paying attention to lately, and obviously there is still much work to be done!

        That night, the Museum was alive... with excitement! Kati Slater-Szirom and Keiichi Aotsuka are research students working at the CFDC until September 15th. They did a presentation for board members, staff, and other Morden dignitaries on what they planned to achieve here. Slater is working on her undergrad thesis and doing research on the geology of the Xiphactinus Killzone. Aotsuka is doing research the the various taxa of cretaceous birds found in our collection. Coffee and cookies were enjoyed by all, Joesph Hatcher was over-joyed to bring leftovers home!
        The next day, we were at the Xiphactinus Killzone again! Ted Nelson is our heavy-over-burden extraordinaire! He removed much over-burden whilst others were working on the micro-fossil layer. Some fish vertebrae and other fragments were found that day, but the big accomplishment was Ted Nelson.
Nelson was back at it again the next day, and with the help of Matt Duda and Steve Striemer they removed a whole wall of dirt to help expose new fossils! By the end of the day we were able to complete some field jackets and bring them back to the museum.
Xiphactinus (an extinct fish) jaws.
        At another site, the same day, Antoine, Kathryn Lapenskie, Lisa Burnett and myself were finding some very large lateral fish scales! Fish scales are often found in the Pembina Member shale. They are typically a dark brown/red colour and appear glossy next to the matte shale.
        Antoine had another prosperous day on Thursday. He aided in finding several vertebra (most of them fish), a couple of teeth, and other fossil fragments. Lapenskie galumphed down into the Boyne member and discovered a possible cephalopod!
        We ended the week on a high note. Andrea Hrenchuk plucked a mosasaur tooth and other fossils out of the Xiphactinus Killzone. Antoine worked on uncovering many fossil frags (including some fish vertebrae) in a square meter area. Hatcher discovered two new outcrops of the mineral, bentonite, which he is actively doing research on. And for myself, I finished another blog post. Hurrah!
-Jaclyn Kozak

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Knock knock!

        What a whirl-wind week! Monday, the CFDC had very special visitors-- the Daily Planet from the Discovery Channel came and checked out the Xiphactinus Killzone! Jim Bamburak from Manitoba Geological Survey, Mayor Wilson (Morden), and Mayor Harder (Winkler),  joined us as well. Even with all these visitors on site, we were still able to find some incredible fossils! A few fish vertabra were uncovered, rib fragments, and a Hesperonis vertabra! The Hesperonis was a sharp-toothed, flightless, average 1.5 m (4-5 ft) tall bird that swam in the Cretaceous sea eighty million years ago.
        A very important visitor arrived during the week. Kati (pronounced Cod-ee) Slater-Szirom is from Washington State. She is doing her undergrad research with us and is very excited to be back at CFDC. She joined us last year on our 5-Day Fossil Excursion and fell in love with the Pembina Valley (and the fossils!). Her plan is to major in geology and then become a paleontologist. Along with the other geology student at the CFDC, Kathryn Lapenskie, they joined up with Bamburak and looked at various dig site’s stratigraphy and and took rock and mineral samples.
        We had a few more visitors including CBC, CTV, Winnipeg Free Press, Morden Times, and CJOB in the museum through-out the week. MP of Portage Lisgar, Candice Hoeppner even came down to the Xiphactinus Killzone! We ourselves played visitors to the Winnipeg Kids' Fringe Festival on Friday and Saturday. The volunteers were fantastic and we enjoyed showing the kids real fossils and talking to their parents about taking a trip to Morden. One of the local vendors was even nice enough to give us free snow cones!
        What a deliciously fossilicious week!
-Jaclyn Kozak

Kathryn's Contemplations on the Chaos

        Hi! My name is Kathryn Lapenskie and I am majoring in geology at the University of Manitoba. Here is what I have to say-- the last two weeks at the CFDC have been busy and exciting! On Monday July 12th a film crew from the Daily Planet show on the Discovery Channel came out to take some footage of our "Xiphactinus Killzone." They spoke to the paleontologists from the museum about the fossils and were able to interview Jim Bamburak from the Manitoba Geological Survey who talked about the geological significance of this site. It was very exciting and fun to have the film crew down and we will post in the future as to when we will be featured on Daily Planet.
        The rest of the week was spent in preparation for our official press release on the "Xiphactinus Killzone." Our field crew spent a lot of time at the site continuing to prep fossils and removing more overburden. Friday morning we sent out information to newspapers and news stations in Winnipeg about our big dig site and we had a huge rush of camera crews and journalists out to the site that day to interview our field crew and get some footage of the fossils.
        We also had an exciting Monday-Tuesday July 19 and 20 when Jim Bamburak came out to the museum again to go on a “geology field trip” around some of our sites on the Manitoba Escarpment. Jim is very interested in researching the Gammon Ferruginous Member of the Pierre Shale Formation and was exploring many of our sites to find this elusive unit of rock. Jim has confirmed the Gammon Member at several of our sites including the "Xiphactinus Killzone." We also spent some time exploring the Boyne Member of the Carlile Formation and found a well preserved shark tooth and found multiple thin beds of coquina, a sedimentary rock composed almost entirely of shells and a small amount of cement. We did a lot of rock climbing and collected a lot of samples for our collection.
        Also! I've continued to find more mosasaur from a skeleton we've been excavating since the beginning of June. AND! Because this skeleton is so significant (and it keeps getting bigger) we get to name it! If you have an idea, comment on this blog and your name could be picked and credited!
-Kathryn Lapenskie

Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Fossils at Xiphactinus Killzone

        Yesterday proved to be a fantastic field day.  Volunteers, staff and public participants arrived at the Xiphactinus site to continue excavation of the specimens.  The site is making excellent progress and field jackets are starting to come into the museum.  Both the fish Xiphactinus and the mosasaur Clidastes have been mapped onto a grid and are beng jacketed as we speak.

        There was some excitement at the site with a large crayfish found while bringing some water up from a near by water source to finish the field jackets.  It was about 13 cm in length with great big pincers.  It scared us half to death and thought it was going to get my big toe!

        Later in the afternoon, a large portion of the lower jaw from Xiphactinus was recovered, numerous small teeth and fish vertebrae as well as a lower leg bone (tibiotarsus) of the bird Hesperornis by a 5-day Fossil Adventure participant, Gavin. It is complete and excellently preserved.

Anita Janzic
Curator

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fishy findings!

          It was a grand start to the week for Andrea Hrenchuk and myself. We took a school out digging to the highest point on the escarpment, Mount Nebo! The kids had an excellent time digging and uncovered a few fossils! We then joined up with the rest of the crew at our "Xiphactinus Killzone" site. Joesph Hatcher was hardcore excited about his recent finds from last week. And was overjoyed to be finding more Xiphactinus fossils.

          The crew went back to the "Xiphactinus Killzone" the next day. The name comes from a fossil that was peaking out of the ditch wall, which was recovered last year right before the end of the 2009 field season. The fossil ended up being a Xiphactinus, and the site became a top priority for excavation for this season because of that glorious find. A variety of different creatures are being found in the Killzone-- including mosasaur vertebrae! Which Linda found on Tuesday. Linda (the first picutre on your left) is one of our fantastic volunteers who is mostly in the lab where she preps fossils so they may be researched or put on display for the public. Hrenchuk grid-mapped fossils, including mosasaur and fish vertebrae, that were still in-situ (haven't been disturbed from their resting place). She then proceeded to apply a field jacket to the specimens so that the fragile fossils may be transported back to the museum safely and intact. Field jackets are made of different layers including wet newspaper/paper towel, burlap (potato sack), and plaster of Paris.  Wednesday, the crew was back at the site again. And the site was producing more mosasaur vertebrae, fish vertebrae, and micro fossils again! However, our volunteers couldn't take the 32°C and 41 humidex heat, so the crew headed out. The crew returned and worked on the Xiphactinus Killzone, and found more fishy vertebra and started cleaning up the site to prepare for our visitors on Monday. And who might these visitors be? Stay tuned to our blog to find out!
-Jaclyn Kozak

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

All I wanna do is find fossils with you!

        This week at the CFDC-- fossils, fossils and MORE fossils! On rainy Monday, Katie Magotiaux, Matt Duda, Joesph Hatcher and myself attempted many of our sites with variable success. Most of our sites were too wet, Hatcher did verify Lapinskie's mosasaur find at one of our sites. We also went looking for invertebrate fossils and bentonite layers at Odanah shale exposures. We did end up at one of our unnamed sites, where the famous paleontologist, Elizabeth Nicholls, researched and published her findings on its stratigraphic sections for the world.
        Magotiaux and Anita Janzic had more success at finding invertebrate fossils on Tuesday-- finding a bivalve yet to be identified and other unidentifiable impressions, while Duda and Hatcher were finding fossils north-west! The same bank that earlier in the season Duda found a Xiphactinus jaw and Janzic found articulated mosasaur vertebrae, is producing yet again! On Tuesday the team found many fragments and a crushed mosasaur vertebra of Pembina preservation. They also collected seven mosasaur vertebrae and several other fragments!
        The whole Fossil Crew, along with CFDC's paleontologists-- Anita Janzic and Joesph Hatcher, went back to the north-west bank that was booming with fossils on Wednesday. Lapenskie found a lovely set of mosasaur pteryogoid teeth-- which are a mosasaur's second set of teeth that are hooked back, forcing prey to their stomachs with no chance of escape! Lapenskie's luck continued through-out the day, she also found a beautifully preserved Tylosaurus (a large mosasaur) tooth. Andrea Hrenchuk and Katie Magotiaux did quarry mapping of a horse skeleton for a taphonomy study, whilst the rest of us were finding fossils. Both are biology students at the University of Winnipeg and enjoy identifying bones! If you ever have a bone that needs identification-- they're your girls!
         Duda had a dig tour on Friday. He went and visited last year's death assemblage and found a few new fragments and a mosasaur tooth, possibly from it's pterygoid set! Also at the site he noticed cougar footprints and feces! Our animal friends are usually just cows, but don't worry yourselves! The CFDC has and will remain to take the utmost precaution at all their sites-- to protect themselves, the public, and the wildlife.
        Friday was also an exciting day for Hatcher at the "Xiphactinus Kill zone". He discovered  Xiphactinus vertebra that started the site's interest and a glorious fragment of a very tiny vertebra that he needs to do some research to identify. The Xiphactinus vertebra had many spikes attached (ribs and neural arches!) as well as possible skull elements.  It may be in the Gammon Ferruginous member, that isn't readily visible or present Manitoba. A geologist from the Manitoba Geological Survey plans on visiting the Morden area to confirm that this layer is indeed the Gammon! What a wonderful and huge scientific find for the CFDC if it turns out to be so!
        Hrenchuk ended off the week on a positive note at the "Xiphactinus Killzone". She took her full-day dig tour group to the site to do some brushing, pickaxing, shoveling, carrying buckets, and learning. Much fun was had and is yet to be had at the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre!
-Jaclyn Kozak

Monday, July 05, 2010

Major Excavation and Major Exhibitions!

Hatcher enjoying the summer heat at the Xiphactinus Killzone.
           Despite the torrential rain fall, the CFDC still had a very SUCCESSFUL week. Katie Magotiaux and myself worked on our upcoming "Fish of the Cretaceous" exhibit. Recently, due to construction, our previous fish exhibit had to be removed because of the fossils sensitivity to the constant vibration of jack hammers. But no fear! The new exhibit is going to be fish-tastic! Currently we are working on molding a Pachyrhizodus caninus, a large carnivorous fish, but smaller than the Xiphactinus. The molding process involves layers upon layers of latex rubber painted on the fossil. After we "paint" the one side, we move on to the next. It is essential to leave a spoat in the mold so we can pour plaster in it later to make the replica. In the end we'll have two individual sides that we can put together, pour plaster, let dry, and enjoy! All of our dangling creatures in the museum  are not real fossils. They are replicas of the real deal. The reasons are ample-- fossils are mineralization of a bone and therefore very heavy! Secondly-- we don't want to drill holes in fossils to build the specimen's 3D skeleton! Thirdly-- fossils are fragile and we must be extra careful with the real-deal! The Pachyrhizodus  should be complete very soon, drop in and say "hello"!
       Matt Duda and Andrea Hrenchuk are currently working on complete a glorious Terminonaris (crocodile) exhibit! The crocodile was excavated in Dauphin last summer. The CFDC did some research and prepped the specimen this winter and also did a few replicas of the fossils. Duda and Hrenchuk are currently working on information and making accurate looking replicas (including painting) of the replica fossils!
      Geology student Kathryn Lapenskie is working on a volcano exhibit! She plans on tying in recent volcanic eruptions and prehistoric volcanic eruptions in the information she will be presenting. Right now, she is having a lot of fun making an accurate model of the Mayon Volcano, a perfect cone-shaped stratovolcano in the province of Albay, in the Bicol Region, on the island of Luzon. She had hoped the CFDC might fund her to go on an excursion to the island, but the funds were a no-go.
Fish jaw and mosasaur rib.
     Besides all our exciting upcoming exhibits we are working on, this week we called in the back hoe to dig up the top overburden of a ditch. Joesph Hatcher and Reid Graham found a Xiphactinus jaw bone protruding out from the side of ditch, as well as a mossaur vertabra at the very end of our 2009 field season last year! Hatcher believes that this will be a very prosperous zone for fossils. And already we found another fish jaw bone (possibly Xiphactinus or Pachyrhizodus?), and here's the neat part-- fossilized to it was a rib! We still have to dig more over-burden off the top to get to the layer where the Xiphactinus jaw was found, but the fossil crew is looking more than forward to a summer of hard work!
-Jaclyn Kozak

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mosasaurs and Plesiosaur Oh my!

     Already the fossil crew has been incredibly busy, and we're barely hitting the good weather! School digs and museum tours are under-way, and in July and August are already starting to fill-up with family and group dig tours! Book now!
Darrel Jones shows off his findings.
     Darrel Jones was our first 2-day dig tour. He found a huge mosasaur vertebra (a backbone), a fish vertebra and multiple fossil fragments. We took him out to our "Xiphactinus Killzone" , where we're trying out different digging styles! Usually the only tool you need digging in the shale are paint-brushes. But at the "Xiphactinus Killzone" we have rakes, pick axes, shovels, and rock-hammers removing wheel barrows of dirt. Besides heavy over-burden removal (thank-you Darrel!), we're also getting our feet wet! Anita Janzic, Katie Magitoaux, Andrea Hrenchuk, and myself got in a pond and did some sifting for fossils and fossil fragments. We found a few small, interesting and unidentifiable pieces and micro fossils that we collected and took back to the museum. The amount of hard work put into the "Xiphactinus Killzone" has been rewarding! This week it produced some Hesperornis fossils, which are extinct birds that lived during the Cretaceous period and are very rare in our collection. Hatcher found his very first Styxosaurus! He found a Styxosaurus's vertebra. The Styxosaurus is the genus name for a type of long-neck plesiosaur. Lapenskie also found a beautifully preserved fish vertebra, micro-fossils, and fossil fragments.
Sifting for fossils!
     Lapenskie and Kaite Magotiaux also had a successful week with her school tours. Along with MacGregor students, Carman Grade 7's, and students from Hartney School, they helped uncover TWO vertebrae, one with the neural spine and chevrons still attached, and the other with the neural spine and excellent indication where the chevrons once were attached. They also uncovered a few fish vertebrae and other unidentifiable fossil fragments in situ-- meaning the fossils have not been disturbed for 80 million years! She left the fossils in the ground to be quarry mapped.
     Quarry mapping indicates where each fossil is found in relation to the other fossils. And by studying their placement we can come up with a hypothesis on why and how the fossil is there. Taphonomy is the study of what happens to an organism when it dies to recovery. It gives paleontologists and other scientists clues on where fossils could be located, and why they are there. Last year the CFDC did a study on the decomposition on two already dead bears.This year we are looking at a horse and coyote previously deceased to natural causes on our sites. There is much to look forward to this CFDC 2010 Field Season!
-Jaclyn Kozak

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Summer Fun!

        The Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre in Morden, MB is pleased to once again be offering day camp programs this summer in July and August! This year we have put more emphasis on making sure that each activity has learning outcomes specified by the Manitoba curriculum.We are also offering package deals and a Bingo card for frequent participants encouraging children to try all the different activities we have planned for them!
Fossil van to the rescue of 80 million year old dead things!

        The activities this year include some favorites from last year, like Volcano Making, Fossil Dig Day, and Fossilicious Sediments! We’ve also planned some great new activities such as JUMBO DINOS, where we will do some experiments to see just how big dinosaurs really were! Everyone will get their own jumbo dinos to decorate and take home as well!Another exciting new activity is Craftaceous, for the kids that love to do arts and crafts!

        To find our complete activity calendar, go to the Kids Corner of the CFDC website. Additional information on the activities, as well as registration forms can be found on the website. If there are any questions regarding the Summer Fun Program please contact me, Sacha, either by phone at 822-3406, or by email.

Sacha Debreuil
CFDC Youth Program Coordinator 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010

CFDC goes tourist!

Despite the drizzling rain, we had one fun Friday on May 28th when the CFDC staff went and visited other local tourist destinations. The “morden-ite” and returning staff were even surprised at the amazing opportunities for adventure in Morden. Our first stop was just a few steps away, to the Manitoba Baseball Hall of Fame, where we got the inside scoop from Joe Wiwcher, who is looking for volunteers as well as looking forward to the annual Fundraiser Buffet. Next stop was long-time favorite at Morden Park. The green grass, new playgrounds and bathrooms, and upcoming spray-park perked our interest and even the rain could not stop us. Downtown, we visited the Pembina Hills Art Centre where we got our passports stamped. Have you heard about the Pembina Valley Passport Adventure? Visit the best Pembina Valley attractions, get at least three stamps, and you can be eligible to enter a draw for up to $1500 worth of local swag! Including a Family Fossil Dig Adventure at the CFDC! Onwards, to Morden's Tourist Booth, Brianna Hunt had many pamplets, brochures, and maps about all to do in the Pembina Valley, and beyond! If you're planning a trip anywhere in Canada, give her a visit!We took a break for lunch, enjoying a Bruce Burger at The Timbers. Mmm, fish!

          Conner, one of our high school volunteer students, joined us after lunch as we went to explore Morden's Research Station. Known world-wide for its agricultural research, like "plant breeding for flax, field peas, roses and ornamental (trees and shrubs)". It's also a perfect place for picture snapping! Another great place to take pictures is Stanley Park! Located south-west of Morden. The playgrounds, picnic and campsites make this a perfect place for family fun. The weather put a wet blanket on our next stop... it was too muddy and mucky outside for the dogs of Dogtown to come out and play! It will remain on our list of things to do, perhaps when we're not so busy digging up fossils. We also added Manitoba's only drive-in-movie-theatre to that list. Bring a blanket and your sweetie, or bring the van of kids to the Stardust Drive In Theatre; they have a variety of movie choices throughout the summer to please just about everyone!
          Morden's Airport gets visitors flying in from all over the world. Mountain City Aviation (located there) can also teach you how to fly! Or, they offer special cloud-high tours of the Pembina Valley, or take an airplane ride to Steinbach to enjoy supper, and be back in time to get the kids to bed early!
          Another fantastic attraction is Morden Colert Beach! Which boasts hiking trails, a sand engulfed lake, and Lake Minnewasta Campground, where you can pick what CFDC creatures you'd like to camp the night with, like Mosasaur Park, Turtle Park, Plesiosaur Park, and more!
          Gaslight Sales staff was very welcoming to us, showing off their vintage artifacts decorating their building, their historical pictures of ol' Morden, and of course-- all their offical Harley-Davidson motorcycles and merchandise! Our final stop of the day was at Pembina Threshermen's Museum, found between Winkler and Morden. Sign up for a tour or explore the many farmer and pioneer artifacts and homes they have in their museum. 
          Thank-you to the owners and workers at all these fine destinations for taking the time out of your busy day to tell us what you do! It was so amazing talking about the worldly tourists Morden gets in every year, and the dedication that not only do these businesses have to Morden and the Pembina Valley, but also the community's support that has helped these "touristy" destinations thrive and grow!



-Jaclyn Kozak

Finding the missing puzzle pieces!

        Another week is complete, but don’t worry—there’s still plenty of fossils to be found! The beautiful weather was a good sign for this week’s prosperity. On Monday, whilst the fossil crew was preparing a site for our Season Dig Launch we found another phalange (finger bone) of the short-neck plesiosaur, Ianto — one of our big 2008 season finds! Which leads us to believe, there’s still more Ianto to uncover! Later that day at another dig site, we dug up more articulated (connected) mosasaur vertebrae (back bones), Xiphactinus vertebra, and a mosasaur jaw bone including some teeth!
         Tuesday was our first school dig tour, everyone had a blast and the kids found a few fossils. Wednesday was a particularly successful day. At one site we found a couple of really small fish vertebrae, Xiphactinus vertebrae, a mosasaur vertabra, ribs, and other fossil fragments.
         Saturday was CFDC's big Season Launch, and we offered free tours and free digging to the public. It was a great success, drawing in over 200 visitors to the museum. Thank-you to all who came out, and great work on finding over fifteen fossils, including various fish vertebrae, mosasaur vertebrae, rib fragments, and two carpels (wrist bones) from Ianto!
-Jaclyn Kozak

Monday, May 17, 2010

Zooks! CFDC's 2010 Field Season Beginneth!


       The Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre's 2010 Field Season has begun! The summer students are finally here (after acing all their university exams)-- and we're still expecting some interns! From left to right: Katie , Matt, Jaclyn, Andrea, Kathryn , and Sacha.
        It's been one incredible first week for us summer students, and the year-round staff are excited to have us back too! The new dig team includes Katie Magitoaux (Junior Field Technician), Kathryn Lapenskie (Junior Field Technician), and returning students Matthew Duda (Senior Field Technician), Andrea Hrenchuk (Senior Field Technician), Sacha Debreuil (Youth Program Coordinator) and myself, Jaclyn Kozak (Youth Program Co-ordinator). I'm responsible for blogging every week, because I'm the English student in a large sea of science degrees. 
 
       Already on the first day, we had some success with finding fossils, with the guidence of Assistant Curator, Joesph Hatcher. On Monday we surface collected a mosasaur vertebra. The Mosasaur vertebra was found in the Pembina Member, it was pinkish in colour and had decent preservation.
      On Friday we found some more mosasaur vertebrae, semi- articulated!(some what connected) Lapenskie, our geology major, was most excited about the 7ft cut of bentonite layers, “It had perfect horizontal layers and distinct contacts between the bentonite and the shale.”
        There are big plans and high hopes for this year's field season. The CFDC has added new dig sites just ripe for excavation. There is big plans for large geological field work on the Pembina, Millwood, and Odanha Members, including more bentonite sampling for regional correlations of the beds. The CFDC has already spotted our next big finds-- including a mosasaur, Xphactinus, and a plesiosaur partially submerged under a cattle pond. However, until we get these fossils out of the ground, we won't be able to tell how complete they are or even if the preservation is  very good for research. 

       Throughout our season, we'll continue our successful museum and dig tours, excavating and quarry mapping at our regular sites, and we'll be hitting up the International Childeren's Festival, Kid's Fringe and Corn & Apple Festival again.
Come on down for a visit this 2010 Field Season, meet our staff  and be a part of discovering history!
-Jaclyn Kozak