Not Since Dawson…
We’re heading out on an exciting adventure today! As many of you know, we love the natural history of Nova Scotia, especially fossils from Joggins, where we live. Brian’s been working on fossils from the Joggins cliffs for over 25 years.
Today, we get to transport an assortment of amazing Joggins fossil trees that have been stored at Saint Mary’s University for the last ten years, to their new temporary home at Carleton University in Ottawa. There, they will be studied by vertebrate paleontologist Hillary Maddin, and her team, using an assortment of new techniques, including CAT scans. Brian has been working with the Carleton crew for the last two years and has helped them with their field trips and research.
This is the largest number of Joggins fossils to leave the province since the late 1870’s. Back then, Sir William Dawson transported many of the same types of fossil trees we’re transporting today but, where we are driving them, Dawson would have had to transport them by horse and wagon to the main railway line in Maccan where they travelled to McGill University in Montreal.
Each tree has bones entombed inside including amphibians and the world’s oldest known reptiles. These fossils represent more than 20 years of discoveries along the Joggins shore and are approximately 315 million years old. We’re very excited to see if any new animals will be identified in the study.
This has been a collaborative effort between Saint Mary’s and Carleton and we’re very happy to be a part of it. This trip is possible due to the dedicated efforts of Matt Stimson, Olivia King, Dr. Andrew MacRae, and Dr. John Calder all from the Saint Mary’s University Geology Department. Their dedication in helping, find, recover and store these important fossils can’t be emphasized enough! A special thank you to Carleton University for taking on the responsibility of studying these rare fossils.
Once these fossils have been thoroughly studied they will return to Nova Scotia and depending on what is found, could be put on temporary or permanent exhibit for everyone to enjoy and hopefully inspire the next generation of scientists. Very exciting stuff!
Brian and Laura