Shattered Dinosaur Fossils to be Put on Display to Educate the Public
Canadian palaeontologists still angry and upset after the fossilised bones of a dinosaur were deliberately smashed by vandals plan to put the specimen on display so that the public can be educated about the theft and destruction of fossils.
Earlier this month, team members at Everything Dinosaur reported that a duck-billed dinosaur fossilised skeleton discovered near Grande Prairie (north-western Alberta) had been deliberately vandalised with bones smashed and pieces of the specimen scattered. Unfortunately, there have been a number of incidents reported from Canada over the last few months.
To read more about the attack on the hadrosaur fossils: Vandals in Alberta Smash Dinosaur Skeleton.
Dr Phil Bell, the curator of the new palaeontology museum that is scheduled to open in the town of Grande Prairie had wanted to excavate and prepare the eight-metre-long hadrosaur specimen and have it displayed in the museum, however, after the attack, plans have been proposed to display the fossils still within their fossil matrix. This would serve as a reminder of the increasing theft and destruction that palaeontologists have to contend with.
Photographs show a close up view of some fossilised ribs of the hadrosaur specimen, these have been deliberately smashed and broken. A receipt for a local liquor store may provide a clue to the cluprits identity. The vandalism incident is currently being investigated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The site had been mapped on June 15th and several days of excavation and digging followed permitting elements of the arms, vertebrae and ribs to be exposed. These fossils were carefully covered to protect them whilst the palaeontologists and field workers left the site. On their return a few days later the team discovered that much of the site had been attacked by vandals and many of the fossil bones smashed.
A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur commented:
“This is a terrible incident, unfortunately there have been a number of such attacks reported over recent months. Let us hope that if the fossil bones are put on display in their shattered state then this exhibit can serve to help educate members of the public and alert them to this very serious problem.”
Researchers are trying to take what steps they can to safeguard dig sites, but they are hampered in their efforts due to lack of funds. A few days ago we published an article which explained some of the measures being taken by palaeontologists.
To read more about these measures: Palaeontologists Take Steps to Protect Dig Sites.