The Shell Pit

It is rare to do any kind of field work in the middle of winter, but in late January PRPRC palaeontologist Rich McCrea visited an industrial excavation site with employees of Shell Canada who had discovered dinosaur bones in the pit they were digging. The Shell Canada employees were very much hoping to find more bones in the pit so they could assist with an excavation.

Unfortunately, even though a few more bone fragments were found, the type of sediment the bones were found represented a past environment that was more likely to have dispersed a skeleton rather than concentrate one, and thus was an unlikely candidate for excavation.

From the perspective of a palaeontologist, Shell Canada had done everything right in respect to this find. It was a pity that the prospects for more bone were poor at this site. The bone figured below was found to possess a bite mark from a scavenging large theropod (likely a tyrannosaur such as Albertosaurus). The bone is on display at the PRPRC with an acknowledgement to Shell Canada and its diligent staff.


A large, partial limb element (possibly a tibia), probably from a hadrosaur (scale bar = 10cm).


Bulldozers are not good tools for excavating dinosaur bones. An impression in the rock of a very large and long bone. Only a small portion of this bone was discovered and in this image is behind the camera case.