Rare fossil bird tracks discovered near Tumbler Ridge
Press Release
For Immediate Release
Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation
Box 1348 Tumbler Ridge, BC V0C 2W0
Contact: Dr Charles Helm, Vice President – 250 242 3984

October 7, 2005

In August 2005 a new dinosaur footprint site was discovered near Tumbler Ridge by Curtis Lettley, a Ph. D. candidate at University of Alberta, while doing field work. He immediately reported it to the Peace Region Palaeontology Research Centre in Tumbler Ridge, and took the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation palaeontologists, Rich McCrea and Lisa Buckley, to the site.

The rock slab that Curtis had discovered weighed about 400 pounds and was partially buried. In addition to small theropod tracks, it contained natural casts of small (2.5 cm long) bird tracks. The slab is from the middle Cretaceous in the Boulder Creek Formation, and is the first known occurrence of bird tracks in rocks of this formation.

With the assistance of Ridge Rotors helicopter pilot Aaron Sitter, the slab was excavated, placed in a net, and flown out by helicopter on October 4. It is now safely preserved in the Research Centre, where its covering of lichen is meticulously being removed. Once this is complete, detailed study can be done.

This specimen will form another important display in the BC Dinosaur Discovery Gallery, which will be developed in 2006. Rich McCrea commented, "The discovery of bird and dinosaur footprints in the Boulder Creek Formation opens up yet another rare window into the prehistory of the Peace Region. We are looking forward to conducting additional research at this locality".

Recent discoveries in the same area have included rare pine cone fossils – these will be featured in next week’s article.

As a result of this discovery and specimen recovery, another piece in the puzzle of Tumbler Ridge’s past will be in place, and exhibited for all British Columbians and visitors to share and enjoy.


Photo credit Rich McCrea.

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