Thursday, 26 January 2017


A specimen of Grambergia sp., a Middle Triassic-Ansian ammonoid from the Toad Formation of northeastern British Columbia.


The Love Boat, soon you'll be sailing away... Well, perhaps you will but that ship has sailed for this wee fellow.

This is a Fossil Love Bug, one of the most satisfying fossils to collect in the Eocene deposits of Princeton, British Columbia.

Love Bugs or March Flies are hardy, medium-sized flies in the Order Diptera, with a body length ranging from 4.0 to 10.0 mm. The body is black, brown, or rusty, and thickset, with thick legs. The antennae are moniliform. The front tibiae bear large strong spurs or a circlet of spines. The tarsi are five-segmented and bear tarsal claws, pulvilli, and a well-developed empodium.

As it is with many species, these guys included, the teens of this species are troublesome but the adults turn out alright. As larvae, Bibionidae are pests of agricultural crops, devouring all those tasty young seedlings you've just planted.

Then, as they mature their tastes turn to the nectar of flowers from fruit trees and la voila, they become your best friends again. With their physical and behavioral transformation complete, Bibionidae become a welcome garden visitor, pulling their weight in the ecosystems they live in by being important pollinators.

Monday, 16 January 2017


Here a partial ammonite with lovely oil-spill coloured nacre (ammolite) shows several bite marks.

One of the natural predators to ammonites were the marine reptiles, particularly mosasaurs and elasmosaurs.

Mosasaurs, while robust predators, lived nearer to the ocean surface, preying on fish, turtles, birds, and sadly for this fellow, ammonites.

Ammonites were also prey to the elasmosaurs, a genus of plesiosaur that lived in the Late Cretaceous. With their long necks, the could move unseen in the depths then chomp down with their cage-like teeth to munch on fish and those unfortunate enough to be the tasty bounty of ancient times.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Tuesday, 10 January 2017


Florissantia, an extinct genus in the Cocoa Tree Family
Beautifully preserved specimens of Florissantia can be found in the Eocene deposits near Cache Creek in the Tranquile Formation, Kamloops Group, at Quilchena, Coldwater Beds, Kamloops Group and near Princeton, British Columbia in the Allenby Formation.

This specimen is from the Allenby Formation, which is predominately fine-grained shales and mudrocks. Florissantia are quite commonly found here alongside other plant remains and rarer, insect and fish fossils.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Friday, 6 January 2017


Shelter Point on northern Vancouver Island is a lovely beach site and part of the Oyster Bay Formation, located just off the Island Highway, about 10km south of downtown Campbell River.  

At the northern end of Shelter Bay, turn east onto Heard Road, which ends at a public access to Shelter Point. A low tide is necessary in order to collect from these shales. I also recommend rubber boots and eye protection. This is a good family trip.   

The fossils, mainly the crab, Longusorbis and the straight ammonite Baculites, occur only in the gritty concretions that weather out of the shale. Aside from the fossils, check out the local tidepools and larger sea life in the area. Seals and playful otters can be seen basking on the beaches.


These oyster-like clams were common through the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. The presence of certain fossil Inoceramus species allows geologists to date specific formations.

The entire group went extinct at the end of the Cretaceous, as did the ammonites and the dinosaurs.
This specimen from Hornby Island is approximately 67 million years old. They were was found a perfect sunny day while collecting with Graham Beard, author of West Coast Fossils and Chair of the Vancouver Island Museum Paleontological Society. Graham has a keen eye and knack for finding the best specimens on the island.

Visit his collection at the Qualicum Museum on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. It is well worth the trip!

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Wednesday, 4 January 2017


Rich McCrea, Dinosaur Track Specialist & Heidi Henderson
Fossil Field Trip to the Dinosaur Fossil beds near Tumbler Ridge.

Here you can see a theropod footprint found by Heidi Henderson, then Chair of the Vancouver Paleontological Society.

Rich McCrae, resident paleontologist and researcher at the site has published many first dinosaur finds from British Columbia. The specimen was donated to the Tumbler Ridge Paleontological Society.

Monday, 2 January 2017


After an exciting hike in the dark through the woods and down a steep incline, we reached the river. The tracks in this photo are from a type of armored dinosaur that date to the very end of the Cretaceous, between 68-66 million years ago.

Imagine a meandering armored tank munching on ferns, shrubs and other low-growing vegetation.

This is a photograph of an ankylosaur trackway filled with water and lit by lamplight along Wolverine River, a research site of Lisa Buckley, one of two magnificent paleontologists working in the area. 

Some of the prints contain skin impressions, which is lucky as many of the prints are so shallow that they can only be recognized by the skin impressions.

There are three types of footprints at the Wolverine River Tracksite - theropods (at least four different sizes) sauropods and ankylosaurs. Filling the prints with water and using light in a clever way was a genius idea for viewing tracks that are all but invisible in bright sunlight by day.

Sunday, 1 January 2017