Hundreds of new fossil tracks found near Tumbler Ridge

A worker dusts of fossil tracks.

Another significant fossil find has been announced today by the Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation.

The foundation is dubbing the discovery, made by a Teck Resources employee near the company’s Quintette mine project, one of “the finest examples of crocodilian tracks in the world.”

More than 100 tracks were found, according to Richard McCrea, curator of palaeontology at the Peace Region Palaeontology Centre.

“Most of the tracks are associated with claw impressions, which are very long and represent the activities of bottom-walking and swimming crocodiles,” McCrea said in a release.

“The traces are striking in appearance and are among the best preserved crocodilian tracks ever found.”

Geologist Kevin Sharman discovered the series of fossils in a rock slab in the mine April 27, which was promptly reported to scientists at the centre.

The museum says staff began excavating the slabs and began creating moulds of the slab on May 11. They recovered the moulds earlier this month on June 4, and the replicas will be used in the creation of an exhibit in the museums Dinosaur Discovery Gallery, according to the museum.

The fossils were found in the Gates Foundation, known for its coal, which is about 100 million years old, the museum says. The rock slabs with the fossils are estimated around 5,000 kilograms each, and mine staff are planning to move them to the museum as well, the museum stated in a release.

“We are happy to have facilitated the identification and study of this significant find, which will help shed light on another chapter in our planet’s history,” said Ray Proulx, senior co-ordinator of community and aboriginal affairs with Teck Resources.

The Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark will hold its inauguration on June 29 at the Dinosaur Discovery Gallery, where a replica of the fossil tracks will be on display.