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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

Alberta Palaeontological Society talk February 17: Palaeocene Mammals and their Fossil Sites in the Calgary Area

VicPS paid members have been advised by email regarding the upcoming talk being presented to the Alberta Palaeontological Society (APS) by Lisa Bohach Ph.D., P.Geol., with Stantec Consulting, and Dr. Craig Scott of the Tyrrell Museum.

Lisa will be talking about fossils from the Calgary area (fluvial, Paleocene strata), and Craig will provide a more general discussion of early mammals.

The talk takes place at 7:30 MST on February 17, so 6:30 pm PST for a BC audience. Thanks to Lisa and the APS for the invitation to attend and learn! VicPS members, check your email for the Zoom link to attend.

VanPS presentation: “Fossil hunting at Penn Dixie Fossil and Nature Park , New York”

The Vancouver Paleontological Society (VanPS) meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 7 pm, PST will be live streamed on Zoom, and paid members of VicPS are invited to attend.

Topic: Fossil hunting at Penn Dixie Fossil and Nature Park , New York

In the summer of 2022, John Fam (Vice chair of the Vancouver Paleontological Society) and his family visited the Penn Dixie Fossil & Nature Park in upstate New York. This park is managed by the Hamburg Natural History Society and encourages the public to learn about paleontology through collecting of fossils. Here anyone can find and keep a variety of fossils such as trilobites, brachiopods, corals, crinoids, bryozoans, bivalves and gastropods. The fossils are all from the Devonian period approximately 380 million years ago. Please attend this free talk to hear more about John’s wonderful experience at Penn Dixie.

VicPS members may attend the presentation by Zoom. Zoom meeting details have been emailed to all paid members of VicPS.

VicPS presentation Feb. 8th, 7:30pm – Geology and Tectonics of Western Canada

Please join the Victoria Palaeontology Society on Wednesday evening February 8th, at 7:30pm for the following virtual presentation: 

Geology and Tectonics of Western Canada

presented by Mr. Theron Finley, Graduate Student School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, studying active crustal faults in western Canada using remote sensing, seismology, geodesy, and field investigations.

The mountainous regions of western Canada have a fascinating geological history that spans over a billion years. This talk will be a whirlwind tour through space and time, covering some of the most interesting aspects of the geology that underlies BC and adjoining provinces. We will discuss the ancient environments that the rocks provide a record of, and how plate tectonics gave rise to the mountains we see today. We will also touch on our present day interactions with our local geology, both in terms of natural hazards (earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, etc.) and natural resources (mineral and energy resources).

Ms. Finley joins us complements of the University of Victoria Speakers Bureau.

VicPS members will have received an email with instructions and links to join this February 8th Zoom presentation.

VanPS presentation: “Fossils from Harrison Lake”

On Wednesday, January 18, 2023, at 7 PM PST, Vancouver Paleontological Society chair Perry Poon will present, “Fossils from Harrison Lake.”

The West Side of Harrison Lake is a well known popular fossil collecting site for the VanPS. Numerous specimens of small ammonites (Cadoceras sp.), large belemnites, and clams (bivalves – Buchia sp.) have been found in these Jurassic and Cretaceous fossil localities. Over several years these fossil sites had drastic changes including road construction, mineral claim, clear cuts, and forest fires. Perry Poon has visited these fossil sites over several years and has documented the changing faces of the West Side of Harrison Lake fossil sites.

VicPS members may attend the presentation by Zoom. Zoom meeting details have been emailed to all paid members of VicPS.

This meeting is also the VanPS Annual General Meeting (AGM) where the VanPS members elect a person for the position of Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Web Designer, and Director(s). Be prepared to wait until the AGM concludes before Perry’s presentation begins.

VIPS presents: January 15, 2023: Dr. Grant Zazula – Woolly Mammoths Remains from the Yukon & Extinct Arctic Mammals

Join us for a talk by Dr. Grant Zazula on January 15, 2023 at 2 PM PST to hear about his excavation of Woolly Mammoth remains along the Indian River and his work at the Beringia Interpretive Centre. We’ll learn what the DNA of extinct Arctic mammals can tell us about their lives and environment.

There is no need to register for this free VIPS Lecture.

Simply click on the Zoom link at on the day of the talk to enter the lecture.

VicPS presentation Jan 11: Hydrothermal Vents: Life in the Absence of Sunlight

Please join the Victoria Palaeontology Society in welcoming our first speaker for 2023:

Moronke Harris, Graduate Student, Oceanography, University of Victoria

who will speak on the subject Hydrothermal Vents: Life in the Absence of Sunlight on Wednesday, January 11th, 2023 at 07:30 PM PST.

Moronke Harris studies life in the absence of light, over 1,000 m below the ocean’s surface. In particular, she studies microbial communities around hydrothermal vents and their eroding mineral deposits. Her research will inform discussions about the loss of biodiversity that may result from deep-sea mining at hydrothermal sites and the resource potential of microbial biopharmaceuticals. In addition to her academic pursuits, Moronke is a science-communication enthusiast and avid visual artist.

Ms. Harris joins us complements of the University of Victoria Speakers Bureau.

VicPS members will have received an email with instructions and links to join this January 11 Zoom presentation.