Friday, August 2, 2013

Dinosaur Provincial Park

This is another of those jaw-dropping sites that I was completely unaware of.  We camped here for two nights and could have stayed much longer if we'd thought to bring a pick and a shovel.

Dinosaur Provincial Park, established in 1955, is like no other place on Earth.  In 1979 the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) formally acknowledged the park's natural, scientific and spiritual importance by designating it as a World Heritage Site.   

Native people believe the badlands are the home of spirit beings, and they have always come here to communicate with the spirit world.  

Dinosaur Provincial Park is exceptional for the abundance and diversity of fossils that are found here.  During the past 100 years thousands of fossils have been collected from this area.  More than 40 dinosaur species are known from the Park.  

Exploration of the Park began in the late 1800s.  Today, researchers from the Royal Tyrrell Museum continue to uncover fossils, providing new information about the plants and animals that lived here 75 million years ago.

The instant transformation from flat prairie to this incredible canyon is stunning.

It is an ever-changing landscape as inches of sand, rock and sediment are washed away with each rain or wind storm....
....exposing fossilized bone-beds that are many millions of years old.  This constant change is what draws both amateur and professional paleontologists from around the world.

But the scenery alone is worth the visit.

This is an excavation in progress of a hadrosaur.

The fossilized bones were brushed with a glue hardener to give them strength and prevent splintering.

Hadrosaurs, also known as duck-billed dinosaurs were large plant eaters weighing as much as four metric tons.  Very abundant 75 million years ago, they account for approximately one-half of all known dinosaur fossils from Dinosaur Provincial Park. 

The Red Deer River is the primary carver of this canyon.
I am utterly fascinated by the realization that these great caches of bones, now being uncovered, are being reassembled into creatures that no man alive has ever seen in the flesh. It has only been approximately 150 years (out of man's entire history!) that we have been aware of what these bones depict.

This was one of the few times I could catch Ron sitting.  "For a hiker, this place is awesome."   

If I could start my life over I would have to devote part of it to the science of paleontology.

I think it is my enjoyment of jigsaw puzzles that fuels that desire.  The knee bone's connected to the thigh bone's connected to the hip bone.....Viola!  A Dinosaur!

Would I know a femur if I saw it sticking out of the wall of one of these hoodoos?

So much about this world and this universe has been learned in my lifetime.  I would only hope that kids today could realize that the 'age of discovery' has not ended but is just beginning.

Storms were gathering again and Ron was leaving very early the next morning.  

 Wow!  What a week!

1 comment:

  1. This is beyond fabulous. I so want to see this now!