Prospecting For Dinosaurs By Raft

In mid-August the PRPRC undertook an ambitious prospecting trip by river raft that covered over 100km in a few days. The PRPRC purchased a river raft through another generous donation from the North Peace Economic Development Commission. Given the difficult terrain and lack of roads, exploration by raft seemed to be a good idea. The PRPRC palaeontologists were joined by experienced rafters, Mr. Lee Hollen and Mr. Martin Lavoie, both from Fort St. John. Mr. Hollen was the discoverer of the world's largest marine reptile (a 20m+ ichthyosaur) and with Mr. Lavoie, had taken PRPRC palaeontologists to visit that locality in the summer of 2010. Also along for the ride was a writer (Dr. Leslie Anthony) and photographer (Ms. Marina Dodis) on assignment from Canadian Geographic to do a story on dinosaurs from British Columbia. The expedition discovered several fossil track specimens and a number of fossil bones, many of which were collected and brought back to the PRPRC at the conclusion of the trip. Other such trips may be undertaken in the coming years.


A small flotilla of rafts loaded for a several day trip.


Once the rafts brought the group into a target area the exploration proceeded on foot. The terrain was often difficult.


The areas this expedition covered were very large, and the stops at each location were comparatively brief, but it gave the palaeontologists a glimpse at the landscape and geology which have never been investigated for dinosaurs before.


The landscape dwarfs two members of the prospecting team.


Success! A pair of large hadrosaur tracks with hand impressions in front are found side by side and filled with water from a recent rainfall. This slab was far too large to collect, but perhaps someday it will be possible to go back.


One of the prizes of the expedition was the discovery of this small, portable slab with three small, three-toed prints which now resides in collections at the PRPRC.


Leslie Anthony (left) chats with Lee Hollen during a short break from paddling.