Travels with Dr Fox – Day 17

Today I put on the T-shirt I bought at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. It shows the skeletal back end of a T. rex and a chunk of fossilized poop, and says “Coprolite Happens”. What fossil geek could resist that?

We drove to the Royal Tyrrell from Edmonton, about three hours of driving and half an hour of David looking for Opuntia fragilis, a native cactus, in spots ranging from sorta-likely to pretty likely, all of which refused to produce a cactus. David had a dino site walk at 11:00, and I signed up to make a fossil cast. Here’s my cast – a replica of a stegosaurus plate.


It still has to be trimmed and painted, but I’m very happy with it! Dr Fox renewed his acquaintance with the herd of pachyrhinosaurus outside the museum proper.

fox & pachy 3

I spent some time drawing. As usual it was absorbing and fun, and at the very end of the day I tried out something new – working strictly with white on black paper. Was it successful? I’m not sure – but I enjoyed experimenting.

Late in the day one of the staff members, Sara Beth, told me she liked my T-shirt. Then, a few minutes later she caught up with me and said, “Just because of your shirt, I had to show you this.” She held a plastic case, padded with foam, in which was a little roundish dark rock. Then she opened the case and handed me the rock, and I saw it was an actual coprolite, a beautiful little piece of fossilized dromeosaur poop. I knew from being shown some fossils earlier that day that small things are usually handed around for viewing in their closed cases, so I felt honoured that she had trusted me to hold this irreplaceable piece of prehistory. And all because I could appreciate a paleontological poop joke!

I had one final surprise today. We went looking for a place to buy fossils, because David had admitted that if he had seen a dino claw in Dinosaur Provincial Park, he would have been sorely tempted to filch it. I wanted to see if we could find one for sale, and what the going rate might be. Well, we didn’t find one, although we did pick up a few beautiful little pieces. But in the lower floor of The Fossil Shop, we found – for sale – a triceratops skull.

me & trike

When we first began to plan this trip, I joked about bringing home a Triceratops skull, and David’s response was that it wouldn’t fit into the Yaris. I never in my wildest dreams expected such a thing to be more than a joke – but here was the skull! When we told Gloria, the proprietor, about our joke, she told me to go and take a photo. Bless her little heart. So here am I with my Triceratops skull – which we considered, but which would not fit into the Yaris.

Tomorrow, back to Regina and a brief visit with Daphne and Kevin before we go on to Morden, Manitoba, for our last museum.


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