Category Archives: CANADA

12 Year Boy discovers rare dinosaur skeleton in a remote part of Canada

12 Year Boy discovers rare dinosaur skeleton in a remote part of Canada

A 12-year-old boy made the discovery of his lifetime when he discovered a dinosaur fossil dating back 69 million years.

An amateur palaeontologist was walking with his father in a fossil-rich part of Alberta, Canada this July, when he saw bones protruding out of a rock. On Thursday, the skeleton’s excavation was completed.

The kid, Nathan Hrushkin, says that when he first looked at the bones, he was “literally speechless.”

12 Year Boy discovers rare dinosaur skeleton in a remote part of Canada
Nathan Hrushkin, 12, and his father, Dion, discovered the partially exposed bones while hiking with friends in Horseshoe Canyon near Drumheller, Alberta.

“He told the BBC, “I wasn’t even excited, even though I know I should have [been]. “I was in so much shock that I had actually found a dinosaur discovery.”

Nathan, who has been interested in dinosaurs since he was six, often goes hiking in the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s protected site in the Albertan Badlands with his father.

“I’ve always just been so fascinated with how their bones go from bones like ours to solid rock.”

A year ago, they had found small fragments of fossils, and his father guessed that they were falling down from the rock above. So this summer Nathan decided to inspect. The fossilised bones were poking out of the side of a hill.

“Dad, you got to get up here!” he called to his father.

His father knew Nathan had found something by the tone of his voice.

“They looked like bones made of stone – you could not mistake them for anything else,” his father, Dion Hrushkin, said.

“It looked like the end of a femur – it had that classic bone look to it – sticking straight out of the ground.”

The bones belong to a young hadrosaur and have been dated at around 69 million years old.

Nathan knows that the fossils are protected by law, so when they got home, he and his father logged in to the website for the Royal Tyrrell Museum, which is located in Alberta and devoted to the study of prehistoric life. The museum advised them to send photos of their discovery and its GPS coordinates, which they duly did.

The Badlands are home to many fossils, and a dinosaur – named the Albertosaurus – was discovered by Joseph Tyrell in the late 1800s. But the part of the conservation site where they were walking was not known for fossil discoveries, so the museum sent a team of experts to excavate.

So far they have found between 30 and 50 bones in the canyon’s wall, all belonging to one young Hadrosaur, estimated to be aged about three or four.

“I was probably like most kids, the Tyrannosaurus Rex was probably my favourite kind [of dinosaur],” Nathan says.

“But after my discovery, it’s most definitely the Hadrosaur.”

The dinosaur is scientifically significant, the museum claims, because the fossil is about 69 million years old, and records from that time period are rare.

“This young Hadrosaur is a very important discovery because it comes from a time interval for which we know very little about what kind of dinosaurs or animals lived in Alberta. Nathan and Dion’s find will help us fill this big gap in our knowledge of dinosaur evolution,” the museum’s palaeo-ecology curator, François Therrien, said in a statement.

Nathan says he’s enjoyed learning more about dating dinosaur bones, and that the whole process has been “surreal”.

“It’s going to be great to see them, after months of work, finally take something out of the ground,” he says.

A 9,000-year-old caribou hunting structure beneath Lake Huron

A 9,000-year-old caribou hunting structure beneath Lake Huron

Underwater archaeologists have discovered evidence of prehistoric caribou hunts that provide unprecedented insight into the social and seasonal organization of early peoples in the Great Lakes region.

An article detailing the discovery of a 9,000-year-old caribou hunting drive lane under Lake Huron appears in today’s issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“This site and its associated artefacts, along with environmental and simulation studies, suggest that Late Paleoindian/Early Archaic caribou hunters employed distinctly different seasonal approaches,” said John O’Shea, the Emerson F. Greenman Professor of Anthropological Archaeology at the University of Michigan and lead author of the article.

The Drop 45 Drive Lane. (A) A plan showing the major topographic and cultural features associated with the drive lane. Black dots represent the location of placed stones. The hunting blinds incorporated within the main drive lane feature are labelled. The raised cobble surface to the north and west of the drive lane varies from 1 to 2 m higher than the bedrock on which the drive lane stones are located. This plan was produced as an overlay of the acoustic image. (B) An acoustic image of the drive lane produced via a mosaic of scanning sonar images. The scanning unit is the black circular area near the centre of the image, and the red circles surrounding have radii that increase by 15 m. A trace of the second scanning sonar location is visible in the southeast of the image. Light coloured objects are stones that produce a strong acoustic signature, whereas dark areas are acoustic shadows.
Stone tool debris from the Drop 45 Drive Lane. (A) Composite photograph showing the 11 chert flakes recovered from the Drop 45 Drive Lane. (B) The location of archaeological tests on the Drop 45 Drive Lane superimposed on the acoustic image (Fig. 2B). Small white circles represent test locations that did not generate identifiable archaeological debris. Large white circles with black centres represent locations that produced lithic debris. Black centres with adjacent numerals indicate locations that generated multiple lithic remains. North is to the top of the image, and the red circular rings surrounding the scanning sonar placement are incremented in units of 15 m.

Diver and remote operated vehicle collecting samples at Drop 45 Drive Lane in Lake Huron.“In autumn, small groups carried out the caribou hunts, and in spring, larger groups of hunters cooperated.”

According to O’Shea, who is also Curator of U-M’s Great Lakes Division of the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology, the site was discovered on the Alpena-Amberley Ridge, under 121 feet of water, about 35 miles southeast of Alpena, Mich., on what was once a dry land corridor connecting northeast Michigan to southern Ontario.

The main feature, called Drop 45 Drive Lane, is the most complex hunting structure found to date beneath the Great Lakes. Constructed on level limestone bedrock, the stone lane is comprised of two parallel lines of stones leading toward a cul-de-sac formed by the natural cobble pavement.

Three circular hunting blinds are built into the stone lines, with additional stone alignments that may have served as blinds and obstructions for corralling caribou.

Although autumn was the preferred hunting season for caribou, the orientation of Drop 45 shows that it would only have been effective if the animals were moving in a northwesterly direction, which they would have done during the spring migration from modern-day Ontario.

“It is noteworthy that V-shaped hunting blinds located upslope from Drop 45 are oriented to intercept animals moving to the southeast in the autumn,” O’Shea said.

“This concentration of differing types of hunting structures associated with alternative seasons of migration is consistent with caribou herd movement simulation data indicating that the area was a convergence point along different migration routes, where the landform tended to compress the animals in both the spring and autumn.”

The structures in and around Drop 45, and the chipped stone debris for repairing stone tools, provide unambiguous evidence for intentional human construction and use of the feature, O’Shea said. And they also provide important insight into the social and economic organization of the ancient hunters using this area.

Diver and remote operated vehicle collecting samples at Drop 45 Drive Lane in Lake Huron.

“The larger size and multiple parts of the complex drive lanes would have necessitated a larger cooperating group of individuals involved in the hunt,” he said.

“The smaller V-shaped hunting blinds could be operated by very small family groups relying on the natural shape of the landform to channel caribou towards them.”

Co-authors of the article are Ashley Lemke and Elizabeth Sonnenburg of U-M, Robert Reynolds of Wayne State University and Brian Abbot of Nautilus Marine Group International.

Man-Made or Natural? Mysterious, Giant Face Discovered on Cliff in Canada

Man-Made or Natural? Mysterious, Giant Face Discovered on Cliff in Canada

A mysterious, “large” face on the cliffside of an island in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve has recently been re-discovered by a man who has been searching for the face for over two years, according to government agency Parks Canada.

Man-Made or Natural? Mysterious, Giant Face Discovered on Cliff in Canada
A mysterious, “large” face on the cliffside of an island in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve has recently been re-discovered by a man from who has been searching for the face for over two years, according to government agency Parks Canada.

Hank Gus of the Tseshaht First Nation, an aboriginal group in the area, first heard about the “face in the rocks” of Reeks Island, part of the Broken Group Islands, two years ago after hearing a story that a kayaking tourist spotted the face in 2008, said Parks Canada First Nation’s program manager Matthew Payne. He added that Gus was not able to find the reported face until just a few weeks ago.

“Gus and some Tseshaht beach keepers recently discovered it a few weeks ago, and they were very excited to share it with us and the archaeologist we work with,” Payne, 43, told ABC News. “We went out to see it recently, and it’s remarkable. It really is a face staring back at you.”

The strange face was spotted on Reeks Island in British Columbia, Canada

The face, believed to be about seven-feet-tall, is similar to a wooden carving on the door of the Tseshaht administration office, Payne said.

“The Tseshaht has lived in the area for thousands of years, so we working with the First Nations to find out if there are any oral histories the face could link back to,” Payne added.

Now, Tseshaht First Nation and Parks Canada are trying to figure out if the face was man-made or if it’s a natural marvel, he said.

“Mother Nature is capable of creating all sorts of amazing things, though the face is very striking,” Payne said. “But we still can’t definitively say if the face is man-made or not.”

Though the Tseshaht and Parks Canada would like to examine the face up-close, the cliff the face is on is treacherous, Payne said.

“The island has a rocky shoreline with lots of hidden rocks, and it can be dangerous depending on sea conditions,” he explained. “You need to know what you’re doing to go and look at it.”

The Tseshaht First Nation did not immediately respond to ABC News’ requests for additional information.

12-year-old boy finds 69 million-year-old dinosaur fossil during a hike with his dad

12-year-old boy finds 69 million-year-old dinosaur fossil during a hike with his dad

For as long as he can recall, Nathan Hrushkin had decided to be a palaeontologist, and the 12-year-old had already made a major discovery. When exploring with his dad this summer at a protected site in the Horseshoe Canyon in the Badlands of Alberta, Canada, he uncovered a partly uncovered dinosaur fossil.

12-year-old boy finds 69 million-year-old dinosaur fossil during a hike with his dad
A 12-year-old boy made the discovery of his lifetime when he found a dinosaur skeleton dating back 69 million years.

It’s incredible to find something that’s real, like the real discovery of a fossil, like an actual dinosaur discovery,” “It’s kind of been my dream for a while.”

Nathan is a seventh-grader in Calgary, which is about an hour-and-a-half away. The fossil was a humerus bone from the arm of a juvenile hadrosaur — a duck-billed dinosaur that lived about 69 million years ago, according to a news release from the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

Nathan and his dad, Dion, had found bone fragments in the area on a previous hike and thought that they might have washed down from farther up the hill.

They were just finishing lunch when Nathan climbed up the hill to take a look.

“He called down to me, he’s like, ‘Dad, you need to get up here,’ and as soon as he said that I could tell by the tone in his voice that he found something,” Dion Hrushkin said.

“They looked like bones made of stone – you could not mistake them for anything else,” his father, Dion Hrushkin, said.

Nathan said the fossil was very obvious and it looked like “a scene on a TV show or a cartoon or something.”

They sent pictures of the bone to the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, which identified the fossil and sent a team of palaeontologists to the site.

Fossils are protected by law in Alberta, and the NCC said that it is important that people don’t disturb any fossils they may find.
The crew has been working at the site for about two months and uncovered between 30 and 50 bones that came from a single young hadrosaur that was about three or four years old, according to the statement.

Hadrosaur bones are the most common fossils found in Alberta’s badlands, but few juvenile skeletons have been found, the statement said. It was also found in a layer of rock that rarely preserves fossils.

“This young hadrosaur is a very important discovery because it comes from a time interval for which we know very little about what kind of dinosaurs or animals lived in Alberta,” François Therrien, the Royal Tyrrell Museum’s curator of dinosaur palaeoecology, said in the statement. “Nathan and Dion’s find will help us fill this big gap in our knowledge of dinosaur evolution.”

The fossils were very close together, so the palaeontologists removed large pieces of the surrounding rock from the canyon walls.

The bones were then covered in a protective jacket of burlap and plaster, so they could be taken to the museum for cleanup and further study.

One of the fossil-rich slabs weighed about 1,000 pounds and was more than four feet wide, according to Carys Richards, a communications manager with the NCC.

Nathan had heard of the hadrosaur before his big find but said it wasn’t the most well-known dinosaur. It’s probably his favourite now — beating out the wildly popular Tyrannosaurus rex.

Nathan and his dad have come to watch the dig several times since the discovery and were there on Thursday when the team was hauling out the last specimens.

“It was pretty fun to be there and watch them do their things,” Nathan said.

57,000-Year-Old Wolf Pup Mummy Uncovered in Canadian Permafrost

57,000-Year-Old Wolf Pup Mummy Uncovered in Canadian Permafrost

In Yukon, Canada, a perfectly preserved wolf puppy, hidden away for 57,000 years in permafrost and identified by researchers as “the oldest, most complete wolf,” has been discovered in Yukon, Canada.

At the Klondike goldfields, near Dawson City, a miner had seen something in the frozen mud wall, and he had to blast through it to get to it to see what it was. He found a creature that was named the Zhùr by the local Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation people.

Julie Meachen, an associate professor of anatomy at Des Moines University in Iowa, told CNN, “This mummy is so complete, she has basically got all her skin, most of her fur … all her soft tissues present, and she’s 56,000 years old.

57,000-Year-Old Wolf Pup Mummy Uncovered in Canadian Permafrost
This photo shows a closeup of the wolf pup’s head, showing her teeth.

The female pup, according to Meachen, is “the oldest, most complete wolf that’s ever been found,” allowing researchers to delve deeper into what her life would have looked like.

Using X-ray techniques, experts determined that the puppy, which had been preserved in permafrost, died at 6 or 7 weeks old.

Meanwhile, a technique called stable isotope analysis revealed that the animal lived during a time when glaciers had receded.

This photo shows an x-ray view of the wolf pup.

“There weren’t quite as many glaciers around, which means there was a lot more freshwater,” she said. “There were a lot of streams, a lot of rivers flowing, and probably a lot of other animals around. She lived in a lush time.”

The wolf cub’s diet, researchers found, was influenced by her proximity to water: Isotope analysis revealed “she and her mom were eating mostly aquatic resources — things like salmon, maybe some shorebirds,” Meachen said.

DNA analysis revealed the pup is descended from ancient wolves — the ancestors of modern wolves — from Russia, Siberia and Alaska.

This photo shows the wolf pup as she was found

“It’s not a surprise — she is related to the things that were there at the time,” she explained. “But the cool thing about that, that most people might not know, is that wolves in the ice age were only distantly related to wolves that are around today.

“They are still the same species, but they are very different, for being in the same species. Their genetics have changed quite a bit over time — the diversity of wolf has been diminished over time, and again, expanded.

“She is truly an ancient wolf, and she was related to all the wolves around her at the time,” Meachen said.

It takes very specific circumstances to create a permafrost mummy, the researchers said, although several well-preserved wolf cubs have been retrieved from Siberia. However, this cub, found in North America, was particularly rare.”It’s rare to find these mummies in the Yukon.

The animal has to die in a permafrost location, where the ground is frozen all the time, and they have to get buried very quickly, like any other fossilization process,” Meachen said in a statement. “If it lays out on the frozen tundra too long it’ll decompose or get eaten.”

Because of her “pristine” condition, experts think that the wolf cub died instantaneously, perhaps when her den collapsed, as data showed she didn’t starve.

Massive dinosaur fossil unearthed by Alberta pipeline crew

Massive dinosaur fossil unearthed by Alberta pipeline crew

A new large tyrannosaur from Alberta, a predatory dinosaur whose name means “reaper of death,” was found by palaeontologists from the University of Calgary and the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

The 79-million-year-old fossil, named Thanatotheristes, is the oldest tyrannosaur reported from northern North America and the first new tyrannosaur species found in Canada in 50 years, according to the research team’s report.

“It’s the oldest example of a large tyrannosaur in Canada found in an older window of time than in previous tyrannosaurs,” says Dr Darla Zelenitsky, a co-author of the study, PhD, Principal Dinosaur Researcher of the University of Calgary and Assistant professor in the Department of Geoscience.

Study lead author Jared Voris, shown above, a PhD student of Zelenitsky’s whose analysis identified the new species, says the fossil specimen is very important to understanding the Late Cretaceous period when tyrannosaurs roamed the Earth.  It gives us a new understanding of tyrannosaur evolution and how these animals interacted with their ecosystem.

“With this new species, we now know that tyrannosaurs were present in Alberta prior to 77 million years ago, the age of the next-oldest tyrannosaur,” says study co-author Dr. François Therrien, PhD, curator of dinosaur palaeoecology at the Royal Tyrrell Museum. “We can tell from the skull how Thanatotheristes is related to the other, better-known tyrannosaurs from Alberta.”

The research team also included Dr.Caleb Brown, PhD, curator of dinosaur systematics and evolution at the Royal Tyrrell and a co-author of the study.

Thanatotheristes degrootorum is named after John and Sandra De Groot, who found the fossils.
Thanatotheristes degrootorum is named after John and Sandra De Groot, who found the fossils.

The team’s study, “A New Tyrannosaurine (Theropoda: Tyrannosauridae) from the Campanian Foremost Formation of Alberta, Canada, Provides Insight into the Evolution and Biogeography of Tyrannosaurids,” is published in the peer-reviewed journal Cretaceous Research.

New species have distinct physical features

Thanatotheristes degrootorum, a new genus and species, was identified from a fragmentary fossil consisting of parts of the skull and the upper and lower jawbones. The bones, which had apparently tumbled from a cliff and shattered on the shore of the Bow River, were found by John and Sandra De Groot (after whom the new species was named) in 2010 near the town of Hays, about 200 kilometres southeast of Calgary.

The specimen lay in a drawer at the Royal Tyrrell Museum until last spring, when Voris examined it. “We found features of the skull that had not been seen before in other tyrannosaurs,” he says. “The fossil has several physical features, including ridges along the upper jaw, which clearly distinguishes it as being from a new species.”

The diagnostic evidence showed that Thanatotheristes is a close relative of two other well-known tyrannosaur species, Daspletosaurus torosus and Daspletosaurus horneri. All three species form a newly named group of dinosaurs called Daspletosaurini.

This group had longer, deeper snouts and more teeth in the upper jaws than tyrannosaurs found in the southern U.S., which had shorter, bulldog-like faces, Voris says.

Research indicates diversity among tyrannosaurs

Thanatotheristes, which Voris estimates were approximately eight metres long, likely preyed on large plant-eating dinosaurs, such as the horned Xenoceratops and the dome-headed Colepiochephale that were part of the ecosystem.

The differences in size, skull shape and other physical features among tyrannosaur groups from various geographical regions may be adaptations to different environments, available prey type and hunting strategies, Zelenitsky says.

“Some species are better suited to certain environments,” Voris says. “This reduces competition and gives species a better chance of survival.”

Such “provinciality” can also be seen in modern ecosystems with lions and tigers, he adds. Lions are found in Africa and favour open, savanna-type environments, while tigers are found in Asia and prefer forested environments.

Darla Zelenitsky, Jared Voris and François Therrien stand with the Thanatotheristes fossils.
Darla Zelenitsky, Jared Voris and François Therrien stand with the Thanatotheristes fossils.

Royal Tyrrell Museum

The team’s research also suggests tyrannosaurs didn’t share one general body type. Instead, groups of different tyrannosaur species evolved distinct skull forms, body sizes and other physical features, spreading into different environments where each group thrived.

“The next step is to test that hypothesis further and compare how tyrannosaur species from various geological regions differed,” Voris says.

The team’s research was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, an Eyes High Doctoral Recruitment Scholarship for Voris, and the Royal Tyrrell Museum Cooperating Society.

Discovery of 1,000-year-old Viking site in Canada could rewrite history

Discovery of 1,000-year-old Viking site in Canada could rewrite history

The possible discovery of a 1,000-year-old Viking site on a Canadian island could rewrite the story of the exploration of North America by Europeans before Christopher Columbus.

Where: Point Rosee, Newfoundland What: the stones appear to be the foundations of a furnace

The uncovering of stone used in ironworking on Newfoundland, hundreds of miles south from the only known Viking site in North America, suggests the Vikings may have travelled much further into the continent than previously thought. 

A group of archaeologists has been excavating the newly found site at the Point Rosee, a narrow, windswept peninsula on the most western point of the island.  

The only known Viking site to date in North America is located on the northern tip of the Canadian island of Newfoundland

To date, the only confirmed Viking site on the American continent is L’Anse aux Meadows, a 1,000-year-old way station found in 1960 on the northern tip of Newfoundland.

That settlement was abandoned after just a few years of being inhabited and archaeologists have spent the last fifty years searching for any other signs of Viking expeditions to the other side of the Atlantic. 

American archaeologist Sarah Parcak, who has utilized satellite imagery to locate lost Egyptian cities, temples and tombs, applied the similar technology to explore the island, seeking for traces of lost Viking settlements. 

She was drawn to this remote part of Canada after satellite imagery uncovered ground features that appeared to indicate human activity.

Ms Parcak looked at modern-day plant cover to discover places where a possible Viking settlement had altered the soil by changing the amount of moisture in the ground. This was the method she had previously used in Egypt. 

After identifying a potential site, archaeologists discovered a hearth-stone, which was used for iron-working, near what appeared to have been a turf wall. 

“The sagas suggest a short period of activity and a very brief and failed colonisation attempt,” Douglas Bolender, an excavator specialising in Norse settlements, told National Geographic magazine.

“L’Anse aux Meadows fits well with that story however is only one site. Point Rosee could reinforce that story or completely change it if the dating is different from L’Anse aux Meadows.

We could end up with a much longer period of Norse activity in the New World.

“A site like Point Rosee has the potential to reveal what that initial wave of Norse colonization looked like, not only for New foundland but for the rest of the North Atlantic.” 

But there is not enough evidence for archaeologists to prove the Vikings settled on the site, as other populations also lived on Newfoundland after them. 

If the site is confirmed as a legitimate Viking settlement, this could lead to further search for other settlements, built 5 centuries before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the New World. 

Man Discovers Mysterious ‘Face’ On Canada Cliffside After 2-Year Search

Man Discovers Mysterious ‘Face’ On Canada Cliffside After 2-Year Search

According to Parks Canada, a man from whom he has searched for the face for over two years recently rediscovered a mysterious large face on the cliff of one Island inside the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Hank Gus from the First Nation of Tseshaht, an Aboriginal tribe in the area, learnt about the face of the rocks in Reeks Island, part of Broken Group Islands for the first time.

2 years ago, when someone told him a kayaking tourist spotted the face in 2008, said Parks Canada First Nations program manager Matthew Payne. He added that Gus was not able to find the face until just a few weeks ago.

The strange face was spotted on Reeks Island in British Columbia, Canada

“Gus and some Tseshaht beach keepers recently discovered it a few weeks ago, and they were very excited to share it with us and the archaeologist we work with,” Payne told ABC News today. “We went out to see it recently, and it’s remarkable. It really is a face staring back at you.”

The face, believed to be about 7 feet tall, is similar to a wooden carving on the door of the Tseshaht administration office, Payne said.

“The Tseshaht has lived in the area for thousands of years, so we’re working with the First Nations to find out if there are any oral histories the face could link back to,” he added.

Now the Tseshaht First Nation and Parks Canada are trying to figure out if the face is a man-made or natural marvel, he said.

“Mother Nature is capable of creating all sorts of amazing things, though the face is very striking,” Payne said. “But we still can’t definitively say if the face is man made or not.”

Though the Tseshaht and Parks Canada would like to examine the face up close, the face’s cliff is treacherous, he said.

“The island has a rocky shoreline with lots of hidden rocks, and it can be dangerous, depending on sea conditions,” he said. “You need to know what you’re doing to go and look at it.”

The Tseshaht First Nation did not immediately respond to ABC News’ requests for additional information.