Digging for dinosaurs

Andrew Wagstaff
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Researchers return to site of Canada’s oldest dinosaurs

Tim Fedak, with his dog Wedge, is returning to the site of the oldest dinosaur discoveries in Canada at Parrsboro's Wasson Bluff for another dig that will take place from Aug. 10-18.

TWO ISLANDS – The site has already produced the fossilized remains of Canada’s oldest dinosaur discoveries. This time, Tim Fedak does not know what they will uncover.

“I don’t know for sure, but I’m pretty confident something is still there,” said Fedak, adjunct professor of earth sciences at Dalhousie University, who has made a career out of studying Bay of Fundy dinosaurs.

The work will take place at the Parrsboro area beach from Aug. 10-18, funded by a research grant from Nova Scotia Museum. Joining Fedak will be Kathy Ogden, Vicki Daley, Brian Matthews and Mary Leeman. The project will also be filmed as part of a History Channel documentary.

Two previous major excavations of the sandstone cliffs in 2000 and 2004 resulted in the discovery of the skeletons of as many as six dinosaurs, the oldest dinosaur bones ever discovered in Canada.

The difference this time around is that the researchers are not as certain what to expect, Fedak explained.

“In those years I knew there was material to collect because I had a rough idea of what was there,” he said. “This time I anticipate something is there but I don’t know. So there’s a little bit of discovery going on.”

On his wish list are prosauropod skulls like those already found at the site, now in the research lab at nearby Fundy Geological Museum, as well as any bone material from a therapod (meat-eating dinosaur) to go with the teeth already uncovered.

Less than a decade since the last excavation, one might not have expected the site to have changed a lot in those years, but the Bay of Fundy tides have caused considerable erosion.

“The upper cliff has moved back a lot,” said Fedak. “The lower bed hasn’t eroded much, so it should be a good section. I’ve been down there a lot in the past month, and it looks like a good section of what could be the bone bed, and it’s quite accessible.”

Work at the site has been documented at the Earthquake Dinosaurs website (http://eDinos.ca) since it was launched in January of 2012. Live updates of the current dig will be published to the site’s affiliated Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Fundy Geological Museum will also be holding several guided tours of the active dinosaur dig; dates and times to be determined.


Twitter: @ADNandrew

Organizations: Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia Museum, History Channel Twitter feed.Fundy Geological Museum

Geographic location: Canada, Bay of Fundy, Parrsboro

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