This Week in History: Dinosaur bones and a tooth in B.C.’s Spatsizi Plateau

This Week in History: Dinosaur bones and a tooth in B.C.'s Spatsizi Plateau
WatchThis Week in History: Two people from the Royal BC Museum describe finding a dinosaur tooth and bones in northern B.C.

The curator of botany at the Royal BC Museum, Ken Marr, just happens to be colour blind, which may have been the reason he spotted a dinosaur tooth while on a plant-seeking expedition in northern B.C.

Marr said he has been sampling alpine plants all over northern B.C. since 2002.

On one trip at Spatzizi Plateau, Marr spotted something unique on the ground.

“I’m always looking down at the ground because alpine plants are tiny, and as I was walking along this ridge on the Spatzizi Plateau, something caught my eye. I had no idea what it was, but it turns out, it’s a dinosaur tooth.”

He added that the tooth was a blue-ish colour.

The Royal BC Museum Curator of Paleontology Victoria Arbour calls it an “incredible tyrannosaurus tooth.”

“A tooth from a meat-eating dinosaur related to Tyrannosaurus Rex!  So when I joined the museum in 2018, I said to myself, ‘I’ve got to go back there and try to find more dinosaur fossils.”

The site where the tooth was found, within the Spatzizi Plateau Wilderness Provincial Park, is only accessible by helicopter.

Arbour and her team travelled there in August 2019.

“We spent about four days at the spot where Ken had originally found the theropod tooth and didn’t really find too much more other than fossil wood and lots of rocks,” says Arbour.

“So, we switched to the second site, where they had found a couple of dinosaur bones in 2013, and within a couple of hours we had found all kinds of dinosaur bones all over this hill full of rubble and boulders.

“A lot of the bones were in really big boulders that were just too big to collect, but we did see things like a dinosaur rib. We were able to bring back a couple of smaller pieces.”

It was an exciting day until snow ended the expedition. While COVID-19 stopped any further trips this year, Arbour says a team hopes to go back to the area when it is safe to travel again.

Veronica CooperVeronica Cooper

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