150 things about Canadian palaeo, part 5 – Dinosaur Provincial Park #FossilFriday

Post number 5 in my 150 things about Canadian palaeontology is going to focus on the 2nd of 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Canada, Dinosaur Provincial Park. Starting on 30/150:

30. Dinosaur Provincial Park (DPP) is located in southeastern Alberta, approximately 50 km from the city of Brooks. Despite the general misconception that Drumheller and the Royal Tyrrell Museum are located within DPP, it is actually about 160 km southeast of Drumheller.

31. DPP was the first of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites for fossil sites named in Canada, recognised in 1979.

32. DPP is represented by 3 different geologic formations: the oldest Oldman Formation, the middle Dinosaur Park Formation, and the youngest (and marine) Bearpaw Formation, representing approximately 5 million years in the Campanian of the Late Cretaceous, about 75 million years ago.

33. The large number of fossils found in DPP is related to the high rates of erosion present in this area of the badlands. Anyone that has been there tells stories of seeing fossils every where you look, and how new fossils can be found each year in regions that were looked over recently.

Dinosaur Provincial Park

34. The Dinosaur Park Formation, where a large number of fossils come from, was deposited in a floodplain/coastal plain environment formed by rivers flowing towards the Western Interior Seaway.

35. There are over 25 species of non-avian dinosaurs known from DPP, in addition to mammal, crocodilian, pterosaur, fish, bird, and plant fossils showing an extremely diverse ecosystem.

36. DPP is considered to be one of the best localities in the world for Late Cretaceous dinosaur remains. Despite it being worked for over 100 years, there are significant new finds every year, and new species still being discovered.

There is so much more that can be said about Dinosaur Provincial Park, but don’t worry, this is not the last I’ll talk about it. It will feature much more in my facts to come! Anyone who works on dinosaurs knows that this area is a kind of “Holy Grail” of palaeontology, and I was lucky enough to get to do some field work down there this past summer, if you want to learn a bit more.

The series:

Part 1: Intro

Part 2: The Burgess Shale

Part 3: Early Canadian Palaeontologists

Part 4: Canadian Fossil Names

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