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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.  …

New VicPS Calendar

Our website now has a page that shows the Google calendar for the vicpalaeo@gmail.com account that our president generally uses to communicate by email with members. All those events that we’re being notifed about can be found listed there. Note that field trips will continue to lack info about where we’re going; look to your email for those details as the field trip date approaches.

From the top level menu, Events->Calendar of Events should get you to https://vicpalaeo.org/events/.

Symposium workshop: “Sutures, Septas and Siphuncles:  Identifying Ammonites with Ease”

As the 14th BC Paleontological Symposium approaches, our planned activities are being better defined, as this workshop on identifying ammonites in BC shows:

If you want to know your Bostrychoceras from your Glyptoxoceras, this workshop’s for you! Ammonites are the most abundant fossil cephalopods on the planet. With over 1,500 recorded genera and 10,000 species, identification can be daunting. In this 2-hour, hand-on workshop, BCPA Chair Dan Bowen will share tips and tricks for ammonite identification including basic terminology, morphology and key diagnostic characteristics as they relate to the most common ammonites found in BC. Test your new-found skills on workshop specimens, or bring your own specimens for practice.

14th BC Paleontological Symposium: ABSTRACTS DEADLINE LOOMS

Thank you to those in the paleontology community who have submitted Abstracts for the 14th British Columbia Paleontological Symposium. Abstracts will continue to be accepted until midnight this Friday, March 3rd, 2023.

If additional time is required, please contact organizers at vicpalaeo@gmail.com as soon as possible to arrange an extension.

Paleontology presentations or posters which relate to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples are welcomed and encouraged, as are presentations on other changes significant to the field of paleontology.

Private Members Bill to Adopt the Elasmosaur as BC’s Provincial Fossil

Ronna-Rae Leonard, the provincial MLA for Courtenay-Comox, has introduced a private members bill to adopt the elasmosaur as BC’s provincial fossil. The bill would add a section to the existing Provincial Symbols and Honours Act to recognize the fossil, known scientifically as the Elasmosauridae, as a symbol of the Province of BC if passed.

The first elasmosaur fossil was found in November 1988 by Mike Trask and his daughter Heather, who were looking for fossils along the Puntledge River. Its discovery marked the first fossil of its kind found west of the Canadian Rockies. The elasmosaur is a large marine reptile dating back to the Cretaceous period; approximately 80 million years ago. Since this initial find, another elasmosaur was found in Comox Valley by Pat Trask in 2020. Both elasmosaurs are on display at the Courtenay and District Museum and Paleontology Centre.

Feb 15, 2023 media release from the New Democrat BC Government Caucus. Hyperlinks added within this post.

Please view the entire media release here.

Image/artwork courtesy of https://www.deviantart.com/nefarusyul

Prof. Shahin Dashtgard blogs on geology

Professor Shahin Dashtgard, P. Geo of SFU now has a blog at www.whattherock.ca to make geology more accessible to those who are interested in it. This was undertaken in response to his recent talk to the VPS and several emails he’s received recently asking geological and palaeontological questions.

With only three posts so far, he’s just getting started. With two of those posts about Vancouver Island, and plans to add a few on the Nanaimo Group, his writings should be of interest and instruction to our VicPS members.