Big dinosaur age fish discovery in Canada

This video says about itself:

Alive for the first time in 82 million years: Tusoteuthis, Xiphactinus & Tylosaur.

From the Montreal Gazette in Canada:

Bones of giant predatory fish unearthed in Manitoba

By Carol Sanders, Winnipeg Free Press July 17, 2010 4:13 AM

MORDEN, Man. — A giant predatory fish that prowled the prehistoric sea that once covered Manitoba was found near here with the catch of the day in its mouth — the flipper of a huge marine reptile.

The bones of an 80-million-year-old Xiphactinus — as long as a shipping container — were unearthed in the Manitoba Escarpment, with the flipper of a mosasaur between its jaws.

The discovery was made by one of the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre’s summer staff walking through a drainage ditch along the edge of what used to be the Western Interior Seaway.

“Science brings you so far,” said Tyler Schroeder, general manager of the Morden, Man.-based centre. “Magic or luck brings you the rest of the way.”

The specimen is about six metres long, making it the largest in the museum’s collection of fish fossils.

“We’ll be setting a new landmark for ourself with this,” Schroeder said.

It has caught the attention of the Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet, which sent a crew to the site of the Xiphactinus find earlier this week.

The centre’s resident paleontologist Joey Hatcher doesn’t know if the 350-kilogram fish was trying to eat the mosasaur, or was fighting with it. It’s the first evidence he’s seen of the big fish preying on the giant marine reptiles.

“We find mosasaurs with their stomach contents chock full of fish. But to find a fish with a mosasaur in its jaws is really amazing luck,” said Hatcher.

The Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre houses Canada’s largest collection of marine reptile fossils, including a 13-metre mosasaur.

The fossils are from the saltwater seaway that covered central North America in the Late Cretaceous Period 80 million years ago, not the freshwater Lake Agassiz caused by a glacier melt just 12,000 years ago.

The Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre is using the Morden Community Centre to showcase its finds from area digs while preparing a business plan and fundraising for a permanent museum, Schroeder said.

For now, there are two paleontologists on site five days a week, along with volunteers and summer staff from Winnipeg, Japan and Washington state working on undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

Every day they’re uncovering more fossils, Schroeder said.

The plan is to make Morden — located about 110 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg — the marine-reptile equivalent of its Drumheller cousin. The Alberta town has turned its dinosaur discovery into a tourist destination, and the Morden is trying to do likewise.

In the meantime, tours are available, with half-day trips and five-day dig packages. You can’t enter one of the dig sites without a staff member, Schroeder said, and you can’t keep what you find.

“All of our fossils are owned by the Province of Manitoba — they’re recognized as historical artifacts.”

Fish fossils dating to 380 million years ago provide the first physical evidence for intimate sex by copulation: here.


6 thoughts on “Big dinosaur age fish discovery in Canada

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