Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Digging Dinosaurs

Digging Dino's 6Following my encounter with the Sweeping Silos, I continued across the prairie and descended into the Red Deer River Valley, also know as Dinosaur Valley. This is where The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology is, and it is a pretty popular place. Even though it is located far from a major urban centre, it being just north of Drumheller, it manages to attract about 400,000 visitors a year.

The Red Deer River has carved 140 metres down through the prairie these past few million years, exposing strata that have accumulated over millions and millions of years. In the case of the museum, it is smack in the middle of the fossil-bearing strata of the Late Cretaceous Horseshoe Canyon Formation.

Digging Dino's 8

The Museum is named after Joseph Tyrrell. He was a geologist out looking for coal when he stumbled upon a fossil of Laelaps Incrassatus. This kicked off The Great Dinosaur Rush of 1910-1917 when palaeontologists from all over the world came hunting fossils.

The museum only opened in 1985, but it has a well earned world-class reputation. The Queen bestowed the "Royal" title in 1990. We visited often in the 1990's, and I was very happy to see that, while everything was different from when I was last there, not much had changed, either. I mean, the exhibits were all new and there were new activities for kids, but the staff have maintained the world-class excellence in the exhibits that makes them so enjoyable.

The big guys are the main attraction, and they are on display in two styles of exhibits. The first style shows the fossilized bones of the animals.

Digging Dino's 6

The second style of exhibit shows what scientists think the animals looked like.

Digging Dino's 7

I said that the museum is very kid-friendly. They even have these wonderful exhibits that tell you where you are, just in case you are confused. Like me.

Digging Dino's 2

The arrow is what really made me chuckle. It was as if the bulls-eye wasn't enough and they had to add something else to get the point across! But the sign also reminded me that indeed I was "here", dawdling, whereas I should have been in the car and on the road!

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