Large Fossil Fish From

The Triassic Wapiti Lake Region

The P.R.P.R.C. received an interesting fish fossil that was donated to the T.R.M.F. by Mr. Roy Christie of Fort St John. The fossil was of the posterior part of a Triassic age fish from the Wapiti Lake area to the south of Tumbler Ridge. The specimen had been collected in the 1960's by Mr. Maynard Bergh, a helicopter pilot who visited the Wapiti Lake area with a geologist. The fossil remained with Bergh for decades, though during the course of time it was dropped and broke into many pieces.

The specimen was left to Bergh's good friend Mr. Christie when Bergh passed away. Mr. Christie heard about the efforts of the T.R.M.F. and P.R.P.R.C. to explore, study and exhibit the region's fossil heritage, he chose to donate this interesting specimen.

The fragmented specimen was reassembled and stabilized by P.R.P.R.C. palaeontologists. The fossil represents posterior half (65cm long) of a large fish, which almost certainly comes from the Fossil Fish Lake area, now within the protected area of Wapiti Lake Provincial Park. This fish and the many other fossil fish and marine reptile specimens from this area lived over 240 million years ago during the Early Triassic Period, much older than the Tumbler Ridge dinosaurs.

McCrea and Buckley have identified the fossil as a large coelacanth which reached up to one metre in length.

The T.R.M.F. and P.R.P.R.C. would like to thank Roy Christie for returning this fascinating fossil to the area from which it was discovered.

 

The Wapiti Lake fish specimen partially reconstructed.

 

The fully restored fish specimen showing the caudal fin and the posterior portion of the trunk.