Wandering through rural Manitoba offers some great surprises. Today my Dad and I visited Bruce the Mosasaur in the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre in Morden. Morden was, some 80 million years ago, in the centre of the Western Interior Seaway, a large shallow sea dividing North America. Unique to the region was a later land uplift that brought the deeply buried remains of the sea bottom to the surface. While fossils were occassionaly found earlier, real interest started only in the early 1970s when workers in open pit Bentonite mines found large sea creatures. Among them was Bruce, a fierce - carnivorous predators are always fierce - sea snake - especially if they're a snake - 13 metres long. As Kevin, the museum administrator, explained, "he could swallow a cow whole if he came by today!" And inspite of Bruce's festive hat we found this statement completely believeable.
Not only did we have our Christmas picture taken with Bruce, but we also toured the fossil storage and display preparation areas. The pleasures of a smaller museum include the chance to meet the people, Anita-Maria, palentoleogist and Linda the display technician, who make these places work and to get a close-up look at the fascinating collection of fossils they have in the lab.
Visit the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre at http://www.discoverfossils.com/aboutus.html