Canada: schoolchildren discover mosasaur and plesiosaur fossils


From the Morden Times in Canada:

Young fossil hunters strike paleo gold

Friday July 07, 2006

It’s not every day children get to have a dinosaur fossil named after their hometown.

MacGregor now has a mosasaur named after the Manitoba town thanks to a class grade 4 students and the exciting discovery they made on a recent field trip to Morden.

On June 12, the students from MacGregor Elementary School were on a paleo-field trip with the fossil crew from the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre in Morden.

There were taken out to a dig location just northwest of Morden when the kids uncovered some interesting fossil specimens.

The specimens turned out to be part of the lower jaw, some vertebrae and ribs of a mosasaur.

The kids were all very excited, and so were the Centre staff, who were able to add more pieces to the museum’s already extensive and highly regarded collection.

“We usually don’t find this many pieces associated together on public digs like this,” said curator Anita Janzic.

In fact, it was a great week all around, as one other class discovered parts of a plesiosaur as well.

The specimens have now been excavated by the fossil crew and been brought in to the laboratory at the CFDC for further work to be done on preservation and conservation.

Hopefully, there will be a replica made of the lower jaw for presentation to MacGregor School, and Janzic said it will be named ‘MacGregor’ after the proud group of school kids who found it.

“This shows just what can be achieved out on our field trips,” said centre executive director Dave Wilkinson, who offered a “‘well done’ to the kids from MacGregor School.

It certainly made their day out with us unforgettable.”

Wilkinson added the discovery further reinforces their belief that there is much more to be discovered in the region, and they
look forward to doing more in-depth exploration in areas such as the land which the centre now owns.

“In the future, we hope to open up our own fossil digsites on our 109 acres of land to researchers and to the visiting public,” he said. “We have high expectations of finding some really great fossils.” …

Adds to collection

The fossil now known as MacGregor adds to the museum collection more pieces of the kind of creature that provided the centre with its most famous resident – Bruce the mosasaur, who is represented by a lifesize replica.

The mosasaur was the most fearsome of the cretaceous reptiles – a long-bodied, air-breathing, scaly-skinned, flesh-eating lizard.

It resembled a modern alligator, however, this resemblance is only superficial.

It is the monitor lizard of Asia and Africa which is its closest living relative.

The average mosasaur ranged from 10 to 20 feet in length, although some like Bruce could reach lengths of up to 50 feet.

During their time, they were a dominant predator on the earth’s ancient seas.:

From the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre:

“MacGregor School” June 12th, 2006

The dig programs started with a “Dino” find as the MacGregor School from MacGregor Manitoba unearthed a Mosasaur specimen.

On June 12, Mrs. Williams gr.4 class participated in a school dig and to their amazement found fossils embedded within the shale.

Volunteers and staff continued to excavate the find and discovered that the gr.4’s were brushing an 80 million year old Mosasaur.

So far three vertebrae, three ribs, and a lower jaw fragment have been collected.

This specimen will be named the “MacGregor” mosasaur.

Great job Mrs.William’s class! You’re our Paleo Star of the Week!

See also here.

Mosasaurs of Limburg, The Netherlands: here.

3 thoughts on “Canada: schoolchildren discover mosasaur and plesiosaur fossils

  1. Pingback: Mosasaur’s tail bent like ichthyosaur’s | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Plesiosaur skeleton put together again in England | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Mosasaur fossils, new study | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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