Another fossil unearthed at Syncrude’s North Mine
Drumheller... Just six months after the discovery of a plesiosaur fossil at Syncrude’s North Mine in Fort McMurray, fossils of two more extinct marine reptiles were unearthed in the same area in May, less than a week apart.
On Friday, May 11, Syncrude shovel operator Jason Young was digging into the mine face and uncovered something of a different colour. Having visited the
It turned out to be a nearly complete elasmosaur, approximately 112 to 114 million years old. The elasmosaurs were predatory marine reptiles that gave rise to extremely long-necked forms some 50 million years later. Another, less complete elasmosaur specimen was found on May 7.
While the fossil remains are not complete, the November 2011 and May specimens appear to have 70 to 80 per cent of the skeleton preserved. The May 11 specimen has a partial skull, making it extremely significant for research and study.
The reason for the high number of fossil finds at Syncrude is not clear. Syncrude may be mining in the area of an ancient sea bed where wind and water currents concentrated carcasses of plesiosaurs. Dr. Donald Henderson, Curator of Dinosaurs at the
A collaborative relationship between Syncrude and the
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