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July 10th presentation – Understanding ontogeny in Deep Time: 29-million-year-old grasshopper ootheca (egg pod)

On Wednesday, July 10th, at 7:30 pm PDT the Victoria Palaeontology Society presents Jaemin Lee, PhD Candidate, Department of Integrative Biology, UC Museum of Paleontology, University of California, Berkeley, who speak on the topic

Understanding ontogeny in Deep Time: 29-million-year-old grasshopper ootheca (egg pod).

VicPS members should check the email they’ve received about this event for virtual meeting connection details, or join us IN PERSON at the Uptown Community Room.

About the presentation:

Reproductive ecology and ontogeny play a critical role in insect dispersal which shapes their biogeographic patterns. Ontogenetic strategies, such as holometaboly, are some of the most important traits contributing to the evolutionary success of insects. However, understanding the non-adult life history traits in Deep Time is challenging due to their ephemeral and soft-bodied nature.

I described a grasshopper egg pod using microtomography from the Oligocene John Day Formation, Oregon, together with Nick Famoso (NPS Paleontologist at John Day Fossil Beds National Monument) and Angela Lin (X-ray imaging core Director at University of Oregon). The specimen, preserving ~50 slightly-curved elliptic eggs and also the ovipositional strategy of laying an underground ootheca, represents the oldest fossilized grasshopper ootheca and also the first known orthopteran eggs in the fossil record. Due to the rarity of fossil insect eggs, systematic praxis have yet been established to systematically study them. However, the number of described fossil insect eggs has rapidly increased in the past decade, and is likely to continue increasing. So we proposed to apply an ootaxonomic system when studying fossilized insect eggs, to establish a standardized systematic practice, which is already practiced in fossil amniote eggs; and an ichnotaxonomic system that describes the ootheca-laying behavior, which has convergently evolved several times among insects.

Check out the research article or this CNN article to learn more!

A Season of Field Trips!

Here are the dates of the proposed VicPS field trips. Members will have received details regarding the planned destinations. Feedback to our president on this topic is encouraged, and RSVP to the field trip leader is desired prior to each trip.

DateTimeTrip Leader
April 21, Sunday8:00 amJerri Wilkins
May 5, Sunday8:00 amJohn Kitson
May 19, SundayJerri Wilkins
June 5 – 6, Wed. – Thurs.John Kitson
June 16, SundayJerri Wilkins
June 30, SundayJohn Kitson
July 21, SundayJerri Wilkins
July 28, SundayJohn Kitson
August 18, SundayJerri Wilkins
August 25, SundayJohn Kitson
September 15, SundayJerri Wilkins
September 29, SundayJohn Kitson
October 20, SundayJerri Wilkins
November 17, SundayJerri Wilkins

“Struck by Lightning”, The amazing true life story about Mary Anning: March 24, 2 pm

You are invited to join the VIPS link for the presentation, The Mary Anning Story “Struck by Lightning”, the amazing true life story about Mary Anning, fossil huntress and first woman of science.

On Sunday, March 24th at 2:00 pm PDT, the virtual meeting link will be posted to the page linked here

This story occurs about 200 years ago at the time of the birth of paleontology, 1799-1847. 

The scene is along the rugged south west coast of England in the little town of Lyme Regis in the 1800s. This area is possibly the most popular area in England to collect fossils. Today this 95 mile long stretch of coastline, which is now referred to as the “Jurassic Coast”,  has over one million visitors each year.

The cliffs erode at a very rapid rate and every year expose literally tens of thousands of fossils. This is a fossil hunter’s dream.

Image courtesy

Fossil Fair @ Swan Lake: March 23 & 24 – debrief

Now fossil fair 2024 is in the rearview mirror, here are some words from our president about the event:

The VicPS annual Fossil Fair at Swan Lake was March 23rd-24th. About 250 people attended, down almost half from some previous years, but enthusiasm and interaction were up, and more than 100 kids participated in the annual scavenger hunt to find specimens in the collection. The National Geographic Fossil Dig/ID kits were a big hit among this year’s winners, as was the ‘Happy Little Dinosaur’ board game.  … New this year was a poster about the Nigel House vertebrate fossils found near Swan Lake. A shout-out to Edward Davies for sharing dozens of high-resolution slides and photos from which we were able to put together a poster. Fossil ID is always a favourite among volunteers and this year IDs offered a few very exciting moments. We had the highest number of fossils brought to Fossil Fair for identification in recent memory.  A few notable specimens:

  1. Mt. Tzouhalem, Duncan – Hexanchid shark teeth, several Glyptoxoceras specimens with helix intact, and what appears to be a cross-section of a coral (button, hexacoral—still seeking verification)​. …
  2. Gulf Islands – A brachiopod from Russell Island. We don’t get many specimens brought in from the Islands (other than Hornby and Saltspring), so this was interesting.
  3. Bone material, Northern BC – What appears to be marine reptile. As is often the case, the exact location of the discovery is unclear, as this was found some time ago by a family member of the person who brought it in for identification. The family is trying to establish providence.

We brought the RBCM and GSC into the conversation to assist with identification. Those conversations are ongoing. 

This year, the RBCM and Fossil Management Office were unable to participate in Fossil Fair due to other commitments, and a few other usual volunteers were unable to attend. VicPS member Kalene (who works at DinoLab) offered up a few volunteers, plus an Elasmosaurus paddle (full scale) model (thanks, Kalene!). DinoLab’s Kirsten had the kids doing Elasmosaurus ‘high-fives’ and it was a great opportunity to showcase the new provincial fossil and hand out lapel buttons provided by the Fossil Mangement Office (thank you, Elisabeth and Genivieve for the buttons!). Serendipitously, the DinoLab preparator who volunteered on Sunday (Jake) was the only Fossil Fair volunteer experienced in working with bone, and in particular marine reptile specimens, and recognized the specimen brought in for identification as likely marine reptile. His hunch was later supported by vertebrate experts in our network. As is our usual way of working, VicPS members came together in the week before the event to ensure lots of volunteers were on hand when the event weekend arrived.  Thanks to John, Carol, Caleb, Justin and Thor for participating.  …

APS Paleo Symposium 2024: Macrh 16, 9 am MDT/8 am PDT

The Alberta Paleontological Society’s Paleo Symposium takes place Saturday, March 16 from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm MDT ( 8:00 am to 3:30 pm PDT) at Mount Royal University.

Please view the Paleo 2024 Flyer that briefly describes the symposium, and forward this flyer to people who might be interested in attending.  The event is open to the general public.

Please make note of the Paleo 2024 Speaker schedule, below, and note that times are all Mountain Daylight Time (MDT).

The Paleo Circular provides more comprehensive information about Paleo 2024 including posters and general information

APS Sponsorship:

Monthly meetings and presentations are co-sponsored by the Alberta Palaeontological Society, Mount Royal University’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and the Canadian Energy Geoscience Association’s Paleontology Division.


Lectures will be presented nearby in the Jenkins Theatre, located in F Wing and accessible from Main Street through a hallway next to Cougars Campus Store.

Poster displays will be presented in Main Street, the main hallway on Level 1 of the Main Building outside the Cougars Campus Store. Campus maps are available on the MRU website at

Visitor rates and parking maps are available on the MRU website at This map also includes locations of food services on page 2 and vendor hours can be found at


You can join the lectures at 9 am MDT (8 am PDT)on Saturday, March 16, 2024 either:

  1. a)  in person at Mount Royal University, Main Building, Jenkins Theatre
  2. b)  via Zoom, using this link:

Mona Trick is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Paleo 2024
Time: Mar 16, 2024 08:30 AM MDT (07:30 AM PDT) Edmonton

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 861 6721 2909
Passcode: 059437

Alberta Palaeontological Society meeting, Friday, Feb. 16, 6:30 pm PST

Please look for the virtual meeting connection details in the email to all VicPS members.

The Alberta Palaeontological Society has invited us to their next meeting.

We have two keynote presenters this month, the first is S. Amber Whitebone, MSc, PhD Candidate, University of New England. The title of her presentation is “Bone Cells to Big Dinos: Using Liquid Crystal Polarimetry as a New Tool to Learn about Fossil Vertebrates”. I have attached her abstract and biography. [below]

Our second presenter is Dr. Nicolás E. Campione MSc PhD, University of New England. The title of his presentation is “They come from the land down under: Australian Mesozoic dinosaurs”. [see abstract below]

Depending on the volume of questions that we get for each speaker, the meeting may run 15 minutes longer than usual. 

VicPS field trip: Sunday, January 21, 2024: Possible changes due to weather

The present snowy conditions at certain places up island may cause the field trip plan to change. Please ensure you check for emailed updates about the field trip before you set off to join us on Sunday morning.

When:9 AM, Sunday, January 21st, 2024
Travel:Meet at Helmcken Park & Ride at 9 AM to arrange carpooling.
Where:Paid members will please check their email for more details.
Equipment:Hammer large enough to break concretions, chisel, wrapping paper, masking tape, marker, GPS and notebook for recording details.

Bring lunch, water, snacks, dress for changes in weather and wear
shoes appropriate for gravel, rock and slopes.