Field Season Kickoff!

The Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre’s 2013 field season officially began May 1st, and that means that it’s high time to get our “Daily Fossil” blog back in action again! (Especially after a hiatus in 2012) We’ve already visited a number of our dig sites during the past few days, although a bunch of them are still inaccessible due to snowmelt and mud (the Millwood member, one of the shale layers that we find fossils in, turns into a positive quagmire when it’s wet). Yesterday we returned to our most productive 2012 site and spent the better part of the day cleaning it up and getting it ready for further excavation this year. This is the same site where we found a mosasaur flipper that had been chewed up in the mouth of a Xiphactinus fish a few years back; while those specimens have been mostly removed to the CFDC, we’re still in the process of uncovering a second, bigger mosasaur that was discovered just above the first two creatures.
                Nature has been kind to us thus far; the weather’s been wonderful and the Fossil Crew has only found three woodticks during four days in the field. The ticks will become much more common in late May and June before declining during July, but they’re definitely irritating until they disappear. One of the Field Techs did a little research on homemade tick repellent (conventional bug spray doesn’t seem to have any great effect), but all the Internet came up with was spraying field clothes with vinegar or tea tree oil. I figure that would probably repel more than ticks.
                We have some other projects on tap this year, besides the aforementioned site. We’ll be at the Pembina Valley Provincial Park a lot, mapping geological outcrops and, of course, looking for fossils. As well, we’ll be at a number of Manitoba festivals, like the Children’s Festival in Winnipeg, the Morris Stampede (for the first time ever!), and the Corn & Apple Festival, our very own local event in Morden.
The Daily Fossil will have a new blog at least once a week, which will contain details about our latest discoveries, upcoming events, and other goings-on at the CFDC. If quick, up to the minute information is what you’re after, though, then check us out on Twitter (@discoverfossils) and Facebook (Bruce Mosasaur). Of course, the best way to see what’s new is to drop by the museum! See you in the field.

Matt Remple
Field Tech