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The CFDC field season runs from May to October with all excavation conducted on the Manitoba Escarpment within the Morden - Miami area.
The 2011 Field Season opened with returning to a site which had been largely excavated throughout the 2010 season, where the CFDC fossil crew excavated a large Xiphactinus fish along with a Clidastes mosasaur, which were preserved together in the Gammon Ferruginous Member of the Pierre Shale. As our team removed overburden so as to continue excavation of the mosasaur, we discovered a whole new mosasaur preserved in an overlying unit. The 2011 season was largely spent on the excavation of this new mosasaur specimen, which sat directly atop the preservational matrix for the original Clidastes which we had planned to resume. The Clidastes will remain in the ground for another winter, as it took the entire 2011 field season to successfully collect the new mosasaur, which species has yet to be determined.
The CFDC again had record visitation and public participation on our fossil dig adventure tours, with many significance new discoveries being made by students on one of our school dig programs, and other individuals who participated in our one and two day dig programs.
Some of the other exciting discoveries in 2011 include the complete tail fin of a large fish, most likely belonging to Cimolichthyes, the numerous fossils belonging to the diving bird Hesperornis, neck vertebrae of the long necked plesiosaur Styxosaurus, the anterior portion of a robust Cimolichthyes fish skeleton, including the skull and pectoral fins, and a new mosasaur specimen located with the upper Boyne Member of the Carlile Formation, which is a first occurrence of the Mosasauridae from this calcareous rock unit in Manitoba.
Additionally, we have spent the latter part of the field season investigating the potential of a few other promising dig sites for 2012. We feel confident that the 2012 field season will be our most fossiliferous dig season yet!
What an exciting season this has been. Below you will find images from our two biggest finds this year. Public participants from our Paleo Tour Program discovered a large Mosasaur similar to Bruce (our 43' Mosasaur). This is a significant find for the CFDC being the first large Mosasaur found since the 1980's. A rare find indeed. This might be our second largest Mosaur in our collection depending on what we have yet to uncover.
The other exciting find was with one of our School / Youth Digs where discovered some Mosasaur fossils that soon led to a death assemblage. Within a designated area we have uncovered over 180 fossil specimens from Mosasaurs, fish, Pleosiosaur, birds and sharks. This is the first recorded death assemblage within the CFDC collection. It is anticipated that the information gained from this site will provide insite to sea currents of the Western Interior Seaway in this area.
We are currently excavating these two sites till the end of September publicly. If you wish to join us in helping to uncover more of these exciting finds, please see our Adventure Tours and register today. Limited space and times available. We will keep you updated on our progress.
May 18 - 25: Manitoba
July 29 - Aug. 5: Montana
The Manitoba-Montana Exchange is a joint venture between the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre (CFDC) and the Paleo World Research Foundation (PWRF) to promote and interpret the Western Interior of North America during the Late Cretaceous.
The exchange is targeted for students to help facilitate awareness of the large collection of marine vertebrate fossils Manitoba has to offer and the abundant dinosaur fossils of Montana. Both CFDC and PWRF will search and excavate for 1 week at each other’s dig sites. Montana students will visit Manitoba from May 18-25 and Manitoba students will visit Montana July 29 – August 5. During these weeks the students and staff will collect data, search and excavate fossils and collect rock samples. The data and samples collected will be analysed to further comprehend the ecology and climate of the Western Interior Seaway.
This exchange program will be facilitated by:
- Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre
- Paleo World Research Foundation
Curator of Paleontology
The 2006 field season was a great success. A total of 31 new specimens were collected from 8 active sites and almost all were fully excavated and transported to the CFDC. The new specimens range from Aves, Chondrichthyes and Osteichthyes to Mosasaurs and Plesiosaurs.
The objectives for the 2006 season were as follows:
- Increase the collection of marine vertebrate fossils for future scientific research
- Understanding the environment of the Western Interior Seaway by means of examining the Pierre Shale Formation
- Obtaining data from current dig sites to assist with future research
- Providing new fossil specimens for exhibition and education
- Collaborative research projects on the Pierre Shale Formation with the University of Winnipeg for an Undergraduate Thesis
- Elevation Survey of the CFDC property
All excavation took place within the Morden-Miami Area along the Manitoba Escarpment. Most specimens recovered were solitary finds but a few were semi-articulated and articulated. A brief description for some of those specimens is provided below.
B.06.01.03 - Hesperornis ?
This specimen is still in the rock unit, it was discovered at the very end of the field season in early October from a school dig. Currently it consists of 4 semi articulated vertebrae in moderate condition. A possible rib or humerus was also located. Due to the lateness of the season the specimen was documented and prepped for winter. This is the first semi articulated Hesperornis I have discovered within the past 3 years. There maybe an association to specimens B.06.02.03 (vertebra) and B.06.03.03 (femur).
M.06.02.03 – Mosasauridae
A 50 % complete articulated mosasaur skeleton. Preservation is not very good, but the quantity was worth excavating. There were numerous roots within the dig site and additional care went into recovering this specimen. Most of the specimen consists of vertebrae with a possible scapula recovered. Currently the remains have been taken out of its jacket but not fully prepared. This specimen will be on display at the CFDC for the summer of 2007 once fully examined.
P.04.01.15 – Polycotylidae aka Betsy
This was the third season at this sight and the hard work has paid off. The skull was missing from this specimen and based on the faults and the locality of the teeth and dentaries we were successful. A lot of time was spent at this sight manually removing ~ 2 metres of clay from the Millwood Member. The base of the skull was recovered including the pterygoid, squamosals, quadrates and other fragments not yet identifiable.