Scientists at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum had a busy summer. Together with students and volunteers, they looked for dinosaur traces, and their work was not in vain. They found a skull of a long-necked dinosaur and a duck-billed dinosaur close to Shaunavon.
Many of the fossil hunters had discovered incredible fossils, but the curator of invertebrate paleontology at the museum, Ryan McKellar, said that his favorite one was a new species of wasp which was trapped in amber for more than 65 million years:
“I almost did cartwheels when the students turned up the first insect from Saskatchewan amber.”
Even though the fossil beds from Saskatchewan are not as famous as the ones close to Drumheller, Alta., the curator said that there are many untapped resources in Saskatchewan, as it covers different ranges of time, showing the living conditions of dinosaurs:
“We’re really just getting into scraping the tip of the iceberg for a lot of these deposits. The more samples you have, the more complete your picture is.”
He explained that the scientists relied on the public to help them find new sites, leading to incredible discoveries. McKellar said that a lot of fossils they found was a “direct result of the public or the parks system leading us to new sites.”
Now that the summer has passed, paleontologists get ready to study the discoveries. Showing the wasp in the amber, McKellar said that they will be able to look at these insects and learn about their evolution and living conditions:
“It’s a question of describing the amber deposit. Which group of trees produced it, what sort of conditions they were living under, and then describing some of the new species that were found.”
Researchers will also cast and mould their discoveries to prepare them for exhibition in the museum, so the public might soon see them displayed.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.