Floods, fishermen combine for southern Alberta dino find

It was the catch of the day as two fishermen landed a potentially new dinosaur species uncovered by the 2013 floods.

Partial dinosaur skull
Partial dinosaur skull

A block containing a partial dinosaur skull, neck and chest has been safely extracted from the Castle River after the fishermen reported their find to staff at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology.

Scientists believe the specimen belongs to a new species of hadrosaur (duck-billed dinosaur) that would have roamed Alberta up to 80 million years ago. This discovery marks an entirely new area to find evidence of dinosaurs in southern Alberta.

It’s believed the fossil was dislodged from the Castle River bank by the 2013 floods.

“Our understanding and appreciation of the natural world continues to grow with this remarkable find. I’d like to congratulate the fishermen who properly reported the finding of this fossil. Thanks to their diligence and assistance, all Albertans and visitors from around the world will now have an opportunity to share in this exciting discovery.”

~ Maureen Kubinec, Minister of Alberta Culture and Tourism

The fossil was recently airlifted out of the discovery site and carefully transported to the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

helicopter airlifting fossilPalaeontology staff  believe the skull is intact and in its original shape. This is considered surprising as fossils are typically found crushed and flattened. The fossil will be prepared and researched over the next year.

Technicians doing a survey from the Royal Tyrrell Museum collected a number of specimens this summer in the Oldman River, Highwood River, Sheep River and Bow River systems. Those specimens will undergo analysis next year.

All fossil discoveries made by the public should be reported to the Royal Tyrrell Museum so they can be properly researched and preserved as part of Alberta’s history.

Owned and operated by Alberta Culture and Tourism, the Royal Tyrrell Museum is located six kilometers northwest of Drumheller on Highway 838.