Royal BC Museum expert publishes new paper about dinosaur specimen discovered in 1930

September 10, 2020
Release

VICTORIA, BC—Dr. Victoria Arbour, the Royal BC Museum’s curator of paleontology, is the lead author of a recently-published paper in the Fossil Record that describes the first ankylosaur bones discovered in British Columbia in 1930.

The paper, “An ankylosaurian dinosaur from the Cenomanian Dunvegan Formation of northeastern British Columbia, Canada”, is available at https://fr.copernicus.org/articles/23/179/2020/.

“Dr. Arbour’s work continues to help the world gain a richer, more detailed understanding of life in the Cretaceous,” said Prof. Jack Lohman, CEO of the Royal BC Museum. “The work of Dr. Arbour and her peers in this paper also reminds us of the central role played by museum collections, the source of exciting new discoveries even decades after specimens are acquired.”

The specimen at the centre of the paper is a set of dinosaur bones, overlooked until now, that is currently part of the Canadian Museum of Nature's collection.

Dr. Arbour is a leading expert on ankylosaurs, armoured dinosaurs that are characterized by their extensive bony plating and weaponized clubbed tails.

The specimen was found in the Pine River, near Chetwynd, BC, in rocks that are approximately 95 million years old.

The region is well known for its fossil ankylosaur footprints, but not fossil bones—but Dr. Arbour’s paper now confirms the two broken vertebrae and a rib from the Canadian Museum of Nature’s collections are indeed ankylosaur fossils.

Significantly, the paper’s second author (of five) is the Royal BC Museum’s new palaeontology collections manager, Derek Larson, who joined the museum on September 8, 2020.

Dr. Arbour notes that this identification suggests researchers may find more bones in the region, a prospect that she hopes to follow up through her recent receipt of a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grant.

In 2020 Dr. Arbour received an NSERC Discovery Grant through her adjunct appointment in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria (UVic).

In 2019, Dr. Arbour announced the recognition of an entirely new species of dinosaur named Ferrisaurus sustutensis —the first dinosaur species unique to BC.  Dr. Arbour published her findings with David Evans from the Royal Ontario Museum in the article, “A new leptoceratopsid dinosaur from Maastrichtian-aged deposits of the Sustut Basin, northern British Columbia, Canada”, in the peer-reviewed scientific journal PeerJ - the Journal of Life and Environmental Sciences.

 

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About the Royal BC Museum:  The Royal BC Museum explores the province’s human history and natural history, advances new knowledge and understanding of BC, and provides a dynamic forum for discussion and a place for reflection. The museum and archives celebrate culture and history, telling the stories of BC in ways that enlighten, stimulate and inspire. Located in Victoria on the traditional territory of the Lekwungen (Songhees and Xwsepsum Nations), we are a hub of community connections in BC–onsite, offsite and online–taking pride in our collective histories.

 

Media contact:
news@royalbcmuseum.bc.ca

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