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Fun with Fossils

Wednesday, April 26, 2023
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    fossil photo by Marcus Lange

Our ‘Introduction to Geology’ students got to go on a special field trip to explore the post-glacial geology of southern Alberta. Students studied the fossil environments and evidence in Drumheller and at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology. Led by Dr. Stephen Jeans, Lecturer, Earth and Space Sciences, the trip was a return to the annual field tutorial that connects study of stratigraphy and planetology to the development of a deep time history of Earth.

Accompanying our Ambrose University students on this educational adventure were members of the Ambrose University Nature Club and students of the Mount Royal University “Fossil History of Life” course, taught by Dr. Jeans.

The group made several stops that included an overview of the general geology and history of Calgary, seeing erosion and economic resources on the prairies, and surveying the structural rock record of Mesozoic rock exposures of eastern Alberta. Upon arrival at The Royal Tyrrell Museum, students were taught research instructions and shown examples of fossils, they were also shown how specimen are preserved and curated. Don Henderson, Curator of Dinosaurs and Dr. Christopher West, Curator of Palaeobotany led hands-on examinations of fossils. Nothing can replace the study of actual 45 million to 1 billion-year-old organism remains and life behaviour traces. This was truly a celebration of all things Earth Science and marvelling at God’s wonderful creation. 

The tours were spectacular, the creatures other-worldly. On the return bus journey, students were sharing pictures and telling each other about their experiences, drawing detailed sketches, and writing course journal entries about how the tour connected well with the course and added new layers (pardon the geology analogy) to their learning. Safely, happy, and tired from a fulfilling day, the students returned to campus at 6:15 p.m. that same evening.

Stock photo by Marcus Lange