Monthly Archives: September 2020

Newly discovered fish species named after Sooke fossil hunter

As reported by Roxanne Egan-Elliott for the Times Colonist, the fossil found by Steve Suntok in 2014 near Sooke has now been classed as a new genus and species, and named for him.

Suntok found the fossil on a beach northwest of Sooke in 2014. He donated it to the Royal B.C. Museum, and a leading world expert on fish fossils studied the specimen in detail. In a scientific paper recently published, Russian scientist Evgeny Popov concluded the fossil was a new genus and species in the Chamaeridae family, which are cartilaginous fishes that have short rounded snouts and long tapered tails.


Popov named the fish Canadodus suntoki — Canadodus for “tooth from Canada” and suntoki for Suntok.

Times Colonist, Sep. 18, 2020

Congrats to Steve Suntok on this honour!

CBC Radio’s On the Island host Gregor Craigie interviewed Steve Suntok and Marji Johns about this fossil discovery. You may listen to that radio clip here.

A press release, with good images, prepared by Popov, Johns and Suntok may be viewed here. The scientific paper itself may be viewed here.

Sep. 27 Field Trip

When: Sunday, Sept 27, 2020

Where: Chemainus River

Directions: Meet at Helmcken Park & Ride at 9am. Carpooling optional/personal decision; masks must be worn if/while carpooling, social distancing mandatory throughout the field trip.

Exposure: Cliffs along the deep canyon of the Chemainus River expose the black mudstones of the Haslam Formation, an ancient marine environment deposited in the Upper Cretaceous (85MY before present). Fossils can be found high above on the cliff face and loose in the steep piles of scree stretching to river level. Fossil are common in large and small concretions and in situ on this stretch of the river.

Many of the fossils of the Haslam Formation are representatives of extinct animal groups which have no modern counterparts. The ancient Haslam environment was a shallow sea populated by molluscs, fishes, and giant marine reptiles. Some of the fossils, such as clams and snails, are similar to their modern relatives, but others, such as the extinct ammonites, provide an excellent opportunity to explore changing life and environment over geological time.

Contact: RSVP Jerri Wilkins via the VicPS Facebook page or via email.