The Courtenay and District Museum is celebrating a victory for a fossil discovered more than 30 years ago in the Comox Valley.
The B.C. Fossil Management office released results of a B.C.-wide vote to designate a provincial fossil, and the Elasmosaur came out on top by a wide margin.
The giant 15-metre marine reptile fossil, found in 1988 on the banks of the Puntledge River, received 48 per cent of the vote.
The second-highest amount of votes went to the Shonisaurus sikanniensis, or Ichthyosaur, with 15 per cent, a massive marine reptile measuring 21-metres in length and dates back to the Triassic period over 220 million years ago.
The ammonite called Canadoceras yokoyamai, also called the “Canadian horn,” and known from rocks between 80 and 85-years-old along the eastern side of Vancouver Island, received the third-highest votes with 11 per cent.
According to the B.C. Paleontological Alliance (BCPA), elasmosaurs lived along the west coast of B.C. during the Cretaceous Period, about 80 million years ago.
The BCPA says elasmosaurs “had streamlined bodies, flattened flippers for locomotion in the ocean, and a long, extended neck and small skull with numerous teeth, used for feeding on fish.”
“We are so excited and appreciate the support our community has shown! Thank you to the Ministry for seeking input through this process and to the British Columbia Palaeontological Alliance for its initiative,” the museum said in a statement on Facebook.
Voting ended Nov. 23, 2018.
The ministry says the process is underway to officially add the elasmosaur to the official emblems of B.C., which requires the government to consider making an amendment to the Provincial Symbols and Honours Act.
The official list of provincial symbols and emblems includes:
- Pacific Dogwood – adopted as the floral emblem in 1956
- Jade – adopted as official gemstone in 1968
- Steller’s Jay – adopted as official bird in 1987
- Western Red Cedar – adopted as official tree in 1988
- Spirit Bear – adopted as the mammal emblem in 2006
- Pacific Salmon – adopted as the fish emblem in 2013