Trent River south of Cumberland is a popular hiking spot for many.
It’s also where Pat Trask of the Courtenay Museum and Palaeontology Centre found something unusual three years ago.
“Over the last three years, we’ve been discovering bones in the river close to this cliff and last year I found a lot of the bones downstream in a crack,” said Trask.
Trask knew the source of the bones had to be somewhere in the cliff along the river.
But it wasn’t until four weeks ago when he found another bone and then up, above it, the rest of a dinosaur, which has been sitting there for 85-million years.
“The bones were sticking right out of that cliff it was pretty amazing to see them from the ground,” he added. “The bones were just sticking right out in the sun, you could see them with the naked eye.”
Most of the bones have now been removed, including a set that was hoisted out in a plaster jacket on Sunday.
“It was the rib cage of a plesiosaur, possibly a long neck one like the elasmosaur that was already discovered in Courtenay in the river,” said Trask.
That one, remarkably, was discovered by Pat’s brother Mike back in 1988 and is in the museum today.
“If we went back in time to the time of the dinosaurs 85 million years ago, where we’re standing right now we’d be standing in the bottom of the ocean and so the fossil record is so incomplete when you find one of these animals it’s a big deal,” said Trask, adding that the animal was likely about three metres long.
The bones from Trask’s find are now beginning to take shape on a table in the museum’s basement.
You can learn more about the Courtenay Museum here.