Sketching the Story

Sketching the Story

The story behind Earthquake Dinosaurs involves an fantastic cast of animals that survived one of the five great mass extinctions of the earth’s history. These ancient animals lived 200 million years ago and include the oldest dinosaurs in Canada. Even the evolution of mammals can be traced to this important extinction event. It was a time of great change in landscape and life.

Although it is slow, the ground is always moving…

Plates of continental crust collide and move through geological time. Like super-slow motion car accidents, the continental crust crumples and mountains rise into the sky. The earth trembles and shakes when the plates slip and slide against each other. For almost 100 million years the continents were fused, into the large supercontinent called Pangea.

Pangea global arrangement, 200 million years ago.

Pangea global arrangement, 200 million years ago.

Pangea was the mother-continent.

During the 100 million years that Pangea was together, terrestrial animals diversified for the first time. Plants of the Carboniferous period provided an oxygen rich atmosphere, shelter and accessible water. The evolution of reptiles (egg laying anapsids) and mammal-like synapids, increasing body size and complex ecological diversity ushered in the Permian Period. Throughout the Permian (300-250) the planet began to warm, with arid areas increasing in size. The largest mass extinction the world has seen occurred at the end of the Permian. The Triassic was a time of recovery with the evolution of dinosaurs, and diversification of the suchian archosaurs that ruled the period.

Then suddenly,… life shuddered.

September Field Season

September Field Season

I have the best office view in  Canada

There is not a more beautiful time of year in Parrsboro than September and October. The weather is perfect, with lots of sun in the day but refreshing cool evenings.

High tide sedimentation patterns at Wasson Bluff

Parrsboro, Nova Scotia has some of the most stunning views of the Bay of Fundy, and September is one of the most beautiful times of year to visit this area.

Low-tide was this around 2 pm this afternoon, so it was a great time to get to Wasson Bluff for a few hours of prospecting field work. It was a productive afternoon with several new specimens collected.

These specimens will be examined tomorrow in the Fossil Research Lab at the Fundy Geological Museum.  If you visit the museum this weekend (Sept 6-7th), ask about the specimens at the front counter. We’ll let you know where you can see these new specimens yourself.

Stay tuned to the Museum’s Facebook page for updates on these specimens.

Fossil Preparation Lab

Fossil Preparation Lab

Museum Ball Cap

This week I joined the team of the Fundy Geological Museum. As Director of the museum, I will be building capacity for museum visitation, education programs, and research.

The FGM is located in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia, on the northern shore of the Minas Basin, Bay of Fundy. The Town is a jewel in northern Nova Scotia, filled with creative people with inspiring stories. There are also dinosaurs in the sandstone cliffs!

One of the first tasks on my first day as Director was to begin working with the Acadia University co-op students, to reorganize the museum’s fossil preparation lab. During the next six weeks the students will begin training on fossil preparation, the job of carefully exposing the fragile fossil bone.

fossil lab cleaning

The photo (right) shows us at the start of our work of cleaning the reorganizing the lab space. By the end of the week we will have two fossil preparation stations established.

The museum’s fossil preparation lab is unique in Atlantic Canada. We are the only fully equipped fossil preparation lab east of Montreal. Visitors to the museum can look into the fossil lab from the exhibit gallery, and this summer, students working in the lab will come out to the gallery to answer questions. Come the museum this summer to see dinosaur bones being cleaned in the lab.

Stay tuned for more updates from the Fundy Geological Museum fossil preparation lab.

I will also be leading a small research collection expedition this summer, to collect new small vertebrate remains from the Wasson Bluff research site. Stay tuned to the Facebook page and Twitter @FundyGeo for more updates from the lab and the field.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment below.