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  6. Canadian Museum of Nature scientists target Alberta dinosaur bonebed

Canadian Museum of Nature scientists target Alberta dinosaur bonebed

Jordan Mallon © Canadian Museum of Nature

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Jordan Mallon maps the Centrosaurus bonebed in June 2015. 

 

OTTAWA, July 29, 2016–A team of paleontologists from the Canadian Museum of Nature will continue their excavation of a fossil-rich dinosaur bonebed in Alberta this August. The team, led by dinosaur specialist Dr. Jordan Mallon, is following up on earlier prospecting trips to the area over the past three summers. 

The deposit, which was found in 2015, is replete with more than 20 bones per square metre, consisting of what Mallon describes as a “mass death assemblage” of a species of horned dinosaur known as Centrosaurus. This plant-eating dinosaur lived about 75-76 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous Period. A number of centrosaur bonebeds have already been studied from Alberta’s Dinosaur Park Formation. 

Centrosaurus is one of the better known horned dinosaurs. But there is a still a lot to learn about the life cycle and population structure of these animals. A bonebed that includes a mix of young and old specimens, both male and female, can help answer some of these questions,” explains Mallon.

The “megabonebed” spans an area about 2.3 sq. km, and is exposed in the badlands along the South Saskatchewan River in southeastern Alberta. The team is following up on the legacy of museum palaeontologist Dr. Wann Langston Jr., who found the first Centrosaurus bones in the area in the late 1950s.

Mallon hopes his team will make progress this summer in mapping specific specimens and excavating some for transport to the museum’s research facility in Gatineau, Quebec, where they can be properly studied. They will also be excavating the skull of another horned dinosaur found last summer, Chasmosaurus kaiensi. The fossils will eventually be added to the collections of the Royal Tyrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Alberta.

The team will be in the field from July 29 to August 19. In addition to Mallon, the museum’s crew includes Research Assistant Dr. Scott Rufolo, and Collections Technicians Alan McDonald and Margaret Currie. Mallon and Rufolo will also head to Montana the last week of August to prospect in the Judith River Formation in Montana, where a new dinosaur species described by Mallon this past May was found in 2005.

Information for media:
Dan Smythe
Media Relations
Canadian Museum of Nature
613.566.4781; 613.698.9253 (cell)
dsmythe@mus-nature.ca

Laura Sutin
Media Relations
Canadian Museum of Nature
613.455.4793; 613.698.7142 (cell)
lsutin@mus-nature.ca