Corn & Apple

The Corn & Apple Festival is fast approaching! The city's biggest event of the year is this weekend, when Morden is flooded with festival-goers and the temperature attains new heights (this year, at least). If you'd like to enjoy a fossil dig as part of the weekend's activities, there's tours leaving from the booth downtown three times a day today and tomorrow (but not Sunday). I can (almost) promise that there won't be any ticks out in the field! Failing that, we'd be more than happy to see you at the museum or at the booth.

Shark Week culminated with the Beach Blast at Minnewasta Lake this past Saturday, complete with a Dunk Tank and a shark tooth hunt in the sand. During the week, we had Discovery Channel's Shark Week playing the gallery, complemented by a display courtesy of the University of Manitoba, size comparisons of our fossil sharks to Bruce, and a big skeleton from a Cretoxyrhina, one of the biggest sharks to swim in the Cretaceous period. Don't worry (too much) if you missed it, though; we plan to celebrate Shark Week every year from now on! The exclusive exhibits will only get better.

Recent discoveries from the field include a number of ribs and vertebrae (backbones) from a mosasaur that we're currently uncovering; multiple fish teeth and vertebrae from the same site, some of which belong to Xiphactinus, our biggest bony (non-shark) fish at a maximum length of 18 feet; part of a squid pen from a 40-foot-long Tusoteuthis; and a nice tibiotarsus (leg bone) from a diving bird (like a penguin) called Hesperornis, one of the few bird fossils found this year. We've done a lot of plaster jacketing in the last week or so too, which involves covering a section of fossil-containing shale in a protective plaster cast, similar to those used to stabilize broken bones. Once the cast hardens, we bring it back to the museum; with all the recently-made jackets, the lab preparators are going to have a lot of work this winter! Their task of cleaning the surrounding shale matrix off the fossils is a difficult and time-consuming process.

Matt Remple
Field Tech