Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Back to the RBCM

I had the nicest commute to work yesterday morning.

A brisk jaunt over the Rocky Mountains, then a smooth descent into this fluffy loveliness.

And here's what I found on the other side of those clouds!

Yes, I was back at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, BC, to return the holotype of Gwawinapterus to British Columbia. I do not know if there are plans to display the specimen, but there is currently an excellent 'Behind the Scenes' exhibit with a great display from the Palaeontology Department featuring other specimens from Hornby Island (the Gwawinapterus locality), north-central BC, and more.

During my last visit I was able to snap this nice cast of a segment of trackway from the Lower Cretaceous Gething Formation of Peace River Canyon. These are on display outside the museum, sort of near the main entrance. This was one of Phil Currie's first major projects after being hired at the Provincial Museum of Alberta (now the Royal Alberta Museum). The trackways in this area were originally collected by CM Sternberg in the 1930s, and subsequently by the Royal Ontario Museum in 1965. With the construction of the WAC Bennett Dam (which would eventually fill to form Williston Lake), an extended expedition was organized by the Provincial Museum of Alberta, and the tracksite was visited from 1976-1979. More than 1700 footprints were documented during these expeditions, and at least 100 trackways were identified. The photo above shows the foot and handprints of a hadrosaur, but theropod, ankylosaur, and even bird footprints are known from the Gething Formation.
You can read more about the Peace River Canyon tracks here (free PDF!):
Currie PJ. 1983. Hadrosaur trackways from the Lower Cretaceous of Canada. Acta Palaeontological Polonica 28:63-73.

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