Royal Saskatchewan Museum unveil new fossil discovery

The latest happening at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum (RSM) is the finding of fossils from a reptile that lived 75 million years ago.

The Prognathodon has been referred to as the T-Rex of the sea because of their massive skulls and teeth that is adapted for a mixture of cutting and crushing.

The RSM staff have been able to recover the majority of the skull along with the majority of the neck and a few skeleton bones. The specimen that was discovered by the RSM staff had a skull about 130 centimetres in length, compared to specimans that were discovered in Alberta which were about 80-90 centimetres in length.

Paleontologist Dr. Ryan McKellar says that they were able to recover a portion of the Prognathodon. He noted that if they were able to recover the whole body it would be 11 metres. He said that the research staff is hopeful to find more fossils in the spring.

Curatorial Assistant Emily Bamforth says the finding the jaw was very exciting. “Jaws are so rare in the fossil record, I kept telling myself , it’s probably not that, don’t get too excited and then I found the top of the tooth row and that for me was a great moment.”

The discovery of the fossil dates back to 2012 when Parks Canada were contacted to investigate a discovery in the Grasslands National Park. Parks Canada and RSM staff were able to collect small fragments of the skull. Additional surface material was collected in 2013.

A permit was acquired in 2019 by RSM staff to dig at the site and recovered some material underneath the surface. In September, Parks Canada staff along with RSM paleontologists and graduate students returned to the site to expand the dig and trace the surface material.

The specimen will be housed at the Museum and is expected to be apart of a fossil exhibit planned for the museum in the next three or four years.

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