National Fossil Day is a celebration to promote public awareness and stewardship of fossils, and foster an appreciation for their scientific and educational values.
Fossils preserve ancient life from all major eras of Earth’s history, and from every major group of animal or plant.
Fossils are evidence of past climates, and provide clues for how living things respond to climate change — important lessons for our warming planet.
“How these insect communities respond to a change in climate is really important for all of us to know and understand.”
Archibald cites an example that many who work in the forestry industry in British Columbia can relate to.
“Right now in B.C., we know that if we warm up winters a little bit, you get an increased survivorship of the mountain pine beetle, and you have a population explosion which is ravaging large parts of the economy of the province.”
And while Archibald’s research has taken him to fossil sites around the globe, he emphasizes the value of sites right here in B.C.
“The one near Cache Creek called the McAbee [Fossil Beds Heritage Site], which I’ve been working on very strongly — it’s a very important site — is about 53 million years old.
“These Eocene sites across the interior of BC are kind of like the NHL of their type — they’re really important, really good — and the McAbee site is kind of like the ‘Wayne Gretzky’ of the NHL sites, so the McAbee is an extremely important site worldwide.”