Let’s Build the Currie Museum!

A message from my colleague Dr. Phil Bell:

Hi all,

Some of you are already aware of the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, which is scheduled to be built in Grande Prairie, but certainly all of you are aware of Philip Currie himself. As part of the final push to raise the remaining construction funds, we have launched a crowd-fundraising campaign on www.indiegogo.com/curriemuseum. The aim is to raise $1,000,000 in 120 days. In the first hour alone, we raised $1,600!

Every donation, no matter how small, is important and donors are rewarded with a range of increasingly cool gifts including a museum logo pin, t-shirts, and original artwork by palaeo-art master Julius Csotonyi. It’s all outlined on the website, so please check it out, spread the word, and help us build a world-class museum and research institute.

Many thanks!

Phil Bell

Head Palaeontologist

Pipestone Creek Dinosaur Initiative

Continue reading

Hugo’s Boss

I almost forgot to mention a fun bit of news coverage that happened during our Grande Prairie fieldwork. The first Pachyrhinosaurus skull to be prepared from the Wapiti River bonebed was nicknamed Hugo (for I hope obvious reasons…). It is on loan to the Grande Prairie Regional College for the next few months and is on display in a case beside their bookstore. The Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune did a nice little piece on the new display and features a completely awesome photo of Phil Currie and prep technician Susan Kagan.

Susan has been pummeling her way through the hard ironstone nodules that enclose the Wapiti River skulls – here is a photo from last fall of progress on the next skull to be prepared. It’s come a long way since then, but it takes a long time to get these guys ready.

Grande Prairie Regional College also has a full skeletal mount of Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai, the species known from the Pipestone Creek bonebed.

Ok, that should actually be the end of Pachyrhinosaurus updates for the next little while…

Pipestone Creek Bonebed

The area around Grande Prairie is rich with dinosaur fossils, although the setting is somewhat different than you might expect if you’re used to working in badlands like Dinosaur Provincial Park. In Grande Prairie, the only badlands outcrops are the Kleskun Hills, and most other sites are found along creeks and river valleys. I spent the bulk of my time at the Wapiti River bonebed, but helped out a little bit at the concurrent excavation at Pipestone Creek. Continue reading

River of Death gets a name change.

I haven’t talked a whole lot here about the Pipestone Creek Dinosaur Initiative or the proposed River of Death and Discovery Museum. The area around Grande Prairie, Alberta, about a five hour drive northwest of Edmonton, is rich in Late Cretaceous fossils. The most famous locality is Pipestone Creek, where hundreds of the horned dinosaur¬†Pachyrhinosaurus perished millions of years ago.

For nearly ten years, a dedicated group of folks in Grande Prairie have been trying to get their own palaeontology museum off the ground. The working name for the museum was the River of Death and Discovery Dinosaur Museum. However, the word ‘death’ in the museum name has made it difficult for the museum to get as many sponsors as they would have liked.

And so it was announced yesterday that the museum would be renamed to the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum! You can read more about the name change at the Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune’s article.

There are some exciting things coming up this summer for the museum foundation, including the Akroyd Family and Friends Dinosaur Ball (yes, those Akroyds!), and the University of Alberta will return to our annual excavations at the Wapiti River Pachyrhinosaurus bonebed and the newly-reopened Pipestone Creek bonebed.

A helicopter approaches at the Wapiti River bonebed during the 2009 excavation. Helicopter lifts are the only way the large blocks can be brought up to the edge of the river valley.