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  • Writer's pictureJanette Frawley

There's nothing new in the world except the history you do not know

Updated: May 5, 2021

Calgary to Drumheller, Canada

In 2017, I introduced Pat to a stegosaurus in Denver. The fossilised creature was embedded in the side of a cliff; it's spiny spikes had been clearly defined in the rock. Pat's response had been to introduce me not only to a stegosaurus, but a whole variety of dinosaurs, one of which is the Albertosaurus, a tyrannosaurid apparently restricted to the Alberta province of Canada, where I'm currently staying.

The museum is fascinating, and as we step through the progressive ages of life on earth, I was fascinated at the amount of information collected in such a relative small area of the world.

The museum is named in honour of Joseph Burr Tyrrell, a geologist who accidentally discovered the first reported dinosaur fossil in the Red Deer River valley in 1884 while searching for coal seams. Although the museum opened in 1985, it is ever growing; a children's interactive section had been opened a few weeks ago, just in time for the school holidays. The busy new section is filled with children who are busily absorbing knowledge about dinosaurs as they touch and experience the activities provided. It is refreshing to see the enthusiasm of the children exploring the new exhibits.

'Extinction can occur gradually through natural processes facilitated by natural selection, or abruptly by a catastrophic event. It can result in opportunities for new forms of life to evolve and diversify.'

I learn that 99% of all species to have evolved are now extinct. This is evidence that the earth will always evolve and change, constantly adapting and healing itself. It is a very positive view of the world, based on actual evidence.

The Royal Tyrell Museum is also a fully-working palaeontology laboratory in which scientists and volunteer archaeologists and members of the public are constantly working on the time-consuming tasks of slowly brushing away grains of sand to reveal more of a skeleton. This must be like putting a complicated jigsaw puzzle together.

There are so many entire fossils on display, still embedded in the rock in which they had been found. The picture below shows the head, which has curled back toward the spine.

Juvenile Gorgosaurus

As we progress through the timeline, I am surprised to see a portion of a slab of fossilised fish, which is part of a larger fossil, discovered in Canowindra, NSW.

fossilised fish

We see many of beautiful fossils; of flowers and other creatures, perfectly encapsulated in rock.

There are so many wonderful exhibits, it's hard to describe them all, but I'm glad I've been here to see the the best examples of fossilised dinosaurs I've ever seen.

I remind myself that children seem to gravitate toward dinosaurs at some stage during their childhood. Perhaps we should encourage them to pursue their interest in geology and the history of the earth.

We visit a rock shop after leaving the museum, where I purchase a small rock: coprolite. Just in case a grandchild takes an interest in dinosaurs...

Just as we leave the museum, the last information board catches my eye.

We need to reduce our use of plastics and other pollutants, but can we really change or slow, or stop the natural progression as we head toward the next ice age?

climate change?


TITLE QUOTE: Harry S Truman

ACCOMMODATION: Private Home in Calgary

ROYAL TYRELL MUSEUM: 1500 N Dinosaur Trail, Drumheller, AB T0J 0Y0, Canada

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