Prospecting in the Triassic Marine


British Columbia has one of the best records of Triassic marine vertebrates in the world. The first finds were made by a University of Kansas field crew in the 1940's within what is now Wapiti Lake Provincial Park. Many researchers from several different institutions have collected thousands of fossil fish and marine reptiles since then. Local geologist Kevin Sharman, along with Tumbler Ridge physician Charles Helm, was responsible for the recent resurgence in interest in these fossils.  To access these remote, alpine areas requires grueling, multi-day hikes with heavy packs through tough terrain. Hiking out of these areas is arguably worse since the packs would be overloaded with fossil-bearing rocks.

As a result of these hiker's great efforts, the PRPRC houses an ever-growing collection of fossil fish and marine reptiles that is the largest such collection in British Columbia, and one of the largest in the world.

Rugged mountain outcrop with Carboniferous limestone overlain by Triassic shales and sandstones

 

A collection of rhomoid-shaped ganoid scales indicating the remains of a fossil fish from the Triassic

 

A series of vertebrae and neural spines from a partial marine reptile.

 

A nearly complete fish with most of the trunk, skull and pectoral fin preserved. Notice the pattern of ganoid scales.

 

A nearly complete fish without scales preserved

 

l-r: Palaeontologists Rich McCrea & Lisa Buckley with Daniel, Karina & Charles Helm, and the Byren Family and their catch of the day of fossil fish.