Ancient skeleton lands at BCHCC
August 29th, 2011, Lloydminster Source
By Catherine Szabo
Barb McKeand now knows what it takes to ship a prehistoric animal.
The crates carrying the tylosaurus, a sea-dwelling creature found on the shores of Lake Diefenbaker, were unpacked on Tuesday and Wednesday by staff from the Royal Saskatchewan Museum.
“It came in five monster-size crates,” McKeand, the Barr Colony Heritage Cultural Centre manager, said, noting the assembled skeleton is over 32 feet long. “It was a challenge to get them out of the transport, we had to leave one on board because we had a little bit of a problem with one of the tailgate lifts on one of the transport trucks, so it had to stay on board overnight until we fixed the problem. (The boxes are) massive. Just like dinosaurs are.”
The tylosaurus is also known as Omaciw – oh-matchee-oh – which is Cree for “hunter of the prairie sea.”
According to National Geographic, the creature may have ruled the seas during the Late Cretaceous period, because other would-be competitors were already extinct. Preserved stomach contents indicate it was a carnivore, eating a main diet of fish, but seabirds, sharks, plesiosaurs and other mosasaurs – marine reptiles – were also eaten.
Numerous tylosaurus remains have been found in Kansas, but this skeleton is Saskatchewan-based, making the prairie discovery a little bit more special, McKeand said.
“It makes it much more accessible for so many more people that may not have the opportunity to travel to Drumheller,” she said.
They’ve had travelling exhibits from the museum before; most are booked two or three years in advance, and this one is no different, she said.
Families have already been calling, wanting to know more details about the exhibit, she added, noting the exhibit will have appeal for both kids and adults.
“Primarily, dinosaurs have kept their intrigue for people, and for kids in particular,” she said. “I can’t explain it, the interest, because they’re so unknown. We know a lot, but we don’t know that much, really, in terms of the history, why they disappeared, their life.”
In addition to the well-illustrated exhibit panels, different programs around the exhibit have also been developed for visiting groups and schools.
Overall, it fits in well to the theme of the centre – though it just barely fits in the room set aside for travelling exhibits.
“Because of the heavy oil science centre, the connection with pre-history and the prairie seas and heavy oil, all of that connection.
“We offer a dinosaur program and various related programs that involve the science centre here, so there’s a connection there with this particular exhibit as well, and we know how much of an appeal there is for the public,” McKeand said.
The exhibit will open to the public for the first time on July 1.
For more information visit http://lloydminstersource.com/Entertainment/tabid/67/entryid/1074/Default.aspx ➜