Fossil hunting in Dinosaur Provincial Park
On a list of childhood dream jobs, just after space traveller and zookeeper, mine has to be fossil hunter.
So, the chance to dig for dinosaur bones in the world’s richest fossil bed lies somewhere between pure glee and once-in-a-lifetime awesome. And nowhere can you experience the thrill of discovery like Dinosaur Provincial Park in the world-famous Alberta Badlands.
This is no painted Hollywood set. You’ll be following in some dramatic, three-toed footsteps. These are 75-million-year-old bone beds where more than 40 species of dinosaurs have already been unearthed, from the horned Centrosaurus, to T-Rex’s cousin, the meat-eating lizard known as Albertosaurus. Think tiny, two-fingered hands and saw-like teeth.
For one glorious, hot day, you’ll work alongside an experienced paleontological technician, who’ll teach you the techniques of excavating dinosaurs. Learn from the pros how to pick your way through to the good stuff.
The Bonebed 30 guided excavation includes an orientation to the park and the research project, working in a real quarry, and a dramatic hike as you prospect for new fossil finds. You’ll work as part of a team, uncovering fossils never before seen by human eyes. Just you, some cool tools, and history to be made.
Surrounding you is the dramatic lunar landscape of the Alberta Badlands, a place of giant sandstone pinnacles (called hoodoos), plains cottonwood trees and cacti; all bathed in golden and terra cotta tones.
And while you’re imagining dinosaurs roaming and gnawing on plants and flesh, you’ll also get lunch as part of the seven-hour program.
Some 500 specimens have been unearthed at Dinosaur Provincial Park, and exhibited in museums across the globe. Your prospecting work contributes to research going on at the world-famous Royal Tyrrell Museum. Check out the museum’s Alberta Unearthed exhibition to see some of the coolest specimens ever found at the Museum, like the two teens who discovered a T-Rex on a fishing trip. Who knows when the next big discovery will come?
Oh, and if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can also book the Bonebed 30 2-day guided tour, an authentic dig that includes meals, and accommodation for up to three nights, on-site, in private furnished rooms.
The guided excavation, June to September, is rated as “challenging” and available only to participants 14 years and older.
Check out this Bonebed 30 Guided Excavation Program at Dinosaur Provincial Park video.
Article courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission.