80 Million 12 months Outdated Turtle Finds Thrilling Fossil Hunters On BC River – Surrey Now-Chief
About eighty million years in the past, a sea turtle died on what’s now the banks of a river within the Comox Valley.
Now the animal has been unearthed by an area fossil hunter.
Russ Ball, of Courtenay, has been on the lookout for fossils for about 30 years, beginning when he and his household lived in Alberta, and he would take his kids to Drumheller. Deciding on Vancouver Island 21 years in the past, he should have discovered a couple of completely different local weather for fossils, and through that point he made numerous discoveries, however the nice turtle has been a little bit of a shock, particularly since vertebrates might be tough to return by. by. Nevertheless, the Comox Valley isn’t any stranger to necessary fossil finds.
“The variety of creatures is unimaginable,” Ball mentioned.
Ball made the invention in January and contacted Dan Bowen of the Vancouver Island Paleontological Society, who agreed it was probably a turtle. The following step was to contact the Royal BC Museum, which is a repository of fossil finds within the province.
“They got here again to me and so they’re fairly enthusiastic about it,” Ball mentioned.
From there, the museum’s curator of paleontology, Victoria Arbor, put Ball in contact with Derek Larson, a graduate pupil engaged on turtles and who’s the director of the paleontology assortment on the museum.
With all indications pointing to a turtle, probably of a distinct species than a number of others discovered within the space, Ball and his group had been at a website on the Puntledge River final week to assemble extra proof.
With the time it took to get Larson’s approval for the tour in addition to for the work of BC Hydro, they needed to wait till now earlier than beginning and spent the week rigorously shredding the specimen, planning to take away all the materials. piece of rock for later extraction of fossils.
“Turtle fossils are very fragile,” Ball mentioned. “You are taking the entire block with all of the fossils in it.
The group had labored with BC Hydro to assist management water ranges throughout excavation. As well as, they relied on the cooperation of landowners to supply entry and help with the works. Ball thanks many volunteers, particularly Stewart McIntosh, whose rescue efforts have helped preserve the waters at bay, to allow them to proceed engaged on the specimen.
On Thursday, that they had utilized a plaster to the rock to guard the uncovered areas of the fossil. The plan for Friday was to take away the boulder, end sinking it, and haul it up a steep ridge over the Puntledge River.
The latest heat climate nearly put the mission on maintain, because the snowmelt triggered the river to rise. By Thursday that they had been capable of stroll alongside the river, by the water, from a close-by farm, however on Friday the water degree was too excessive, which meant a steep switchback descent to the positioning on the riverbank. .
For a lot of the morning there was doubt over the specimen’s removing. They had been capable of refloat sufficient water to complete the specimen and get it out of the riverbed for supply to the Royal BC Museum, the place workers will rigorously take away the rock to extract what stays of the turtle inside. .
Ball, who collects fossils and rocks, is aware of the museum is the right place for a turtle-sized specimen and is completely happy to have the ability to contribute to the persevering with historical past of Vancouver Island’s historical previous. On the finish of the day on Friday, Ball texted with an replace: “The fossil bone I found is on its technique to the Victoria Museum. The place it belongs. “
Larson described the turtle as in all probability being ‘disarticulated’, which means its bones are unfold aside on the website, or as Ball likes to explain it, ‘turtle on the highway’.
There’s nonetheless work to be finished on the museum, as researchers goal to seek out all of the stays within the rock and determine the turtle. Larson expects the creature, estimated to be a minimum of 80 million years previous, to be up to some toes lengthy. The hope is that, like the opposite historical turtles discovered within the Comox Valley, this one will turn into one thing new once more.
“We do not know but if it is a completely different species,” Larson mentioned. “It may very well be fully new to science. We’re very excited. “
Comox Valley – Royal British Columbia Museum