Excavation of British Columbia's First Complete Dinosaur (I)

In late June, PRPRC palaeontologists began working on excavating a promising dinosaur bone site that had been discovered the previous year.

The palaeontologists established a small area as a test pit to find out if the site warranted greater allocation of time and resources. The first job was to remove a large amount of overlying dirt and rock collectively referred to as 'overburden'.

Lisa Buckley clearing an area above the suspected bone horizon.


Once enough overburden was removed, the real excavation could begin within the small test pit. Only small hand tools can be used on such a dig, with palaeontologists slowing working their way down in the sediment keeping a sharp eye out for any sign of fossil bone.

Palaeontologists working in the small test pit.


Effort is rewarded with one of the first elements discovered being a small tooth from a juvenile tyrannosaur. At the time this was only the second tyrannosaur tooth discovered in British Columbia.


A fairly large ossified tendon.


Every bone and bone fragment is mapped prior to removal.


Progress with the excavation.


A pair of crossed hadrosaur ribs in excellent condition.


An excavated and nearly complete hadrosaur rib (proximal end intact, distal end eroded).


A partial hadrosaur femur (proximal end intact, distal end eroded).


The partial hadrosaur femur after being pedastaled and jacketed with burlap and plaster. This specimen (~75kg or 165lbs) had to be carried out of the site manually.