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HomeNewsBig discovery made during 2019 summer fossil dig in Grande Prairie area

Big discovery made during 2019 summer fossil dig in Grande Prairie area

It was an exciting summer for palaeontologists exploring bone beds in the Grande Prairie area. Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum Curator Corwin Sullivan says they are now in possession of the skull of a hadrosaur or duck-billed dinosaur.

“We found that actually on our second day of actual fieldwork. I was out prospecting with Matt Vavrek and we were on the north bank of the Wapiti River and he just stopped and said, ‘is that a skull?’ I walked up beside him and saw what he was looking at and it was a block of stone sitting on the riverbank and the block clearly contained the skull of a hadrosaur.”

This is the second skull of a hadrosaur Sullivan says has been found during his time in the area with the first one being found in 2017.

A team of scientists from the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, the University of Alberta, and the University of New England in Australia all took part in the search for fossils this year exploring several sites in the area including locations along the Wapiti, Beaverlodge, and Red Willow rivers, and the Pipestone Creek bonebed.

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Along with the skull, Sullivan says they found a number of smaller fossils in the local bonebeds as well.

“There’s one that produces bones of juvenile duck-bills and another quite interesting one that produces a mixture of bones and teeth of smaller vertebrates like turtles and small dinosaurs and the occasional bit of fish or lizard.”

The skull and other items found this year have been taken back to the lab to be cleaned and studied and will appear at the museum in the next couple of years. The 2020 digging season will start up again in late July.

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