We got up early-early this morning and, after a quick breakfast with Daphne, Kevin and the dogs (and cat) we were off to Morden, Manitoba and our last museum, the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre. This is a small museum housing the largest mosasaur on display anywhere in the world. They call him Bruce. I believe someone there is a Monty Python fan, but I can’t prove it.
On the drive, we of course found photo ops. David saw a heron and we turned back so I could photograph it.
It was a long drive to Morden, but the museum was well worth it. Peter Cantelon, the executive director, was manning the counter, and was a goldmine of information about Manitoba’s fossil beds, about Bruce and Suzy (the other, smaller mosasaur on display) and about the museum itself.
The museum is perfect for someone with limited knowledge of fossils, planetary history or geology, because it summarizes everything from the Big Bang through geological layers and radiocarbon dating to putting a plaster jacket on a fossil. If you know this stuff already, it’s a good refresher. And there are lots and lots of fossils, many set up in dioramas.
And then we saw Bruce. Dr Fox for scale.
Dr Fox, despite his T. rex-wrangling credentials, was a tad nervous sitting this close to Bruce. Bruce is a Guinness World record holder for largest mosasaur on display in the entire world, and has a certificate to prove it. There was nothing on the certificate about the number of foxes he’d eaten, even accidentally.
I was also really happy to see they had a fossilized squid. Cephalopods generally don’t fossilize because they are almost all soft tissue. With ammonites and orthoceras, what is fossilized is the shell, not the innards, as a rule. So this guy really beat the odds – although, being dead and fossilized and all, he probably isn’t all that thrilled about it.
In short, a great little museum to end on. And, bonus, they also do several fossil dig programmes, which allow you to go out to a real fossil dig site and help. I’m probably going to have to come back!
Tomorrow, on to Thunder Bay, another time-travel experience in the lose-an-hour direction (we had one of those today, too!), and possibly one more palaeontological stop before we get home.