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Victoria Arbour

2003 - Michael Keen Memorial Awards

B.Sc. (Honours) Thesis

An ornithischian dinosaur from the Sustut Basin, British Columbia, Canada.

(PDF - 21.6 Mb)

In 1971, dinosaur bones were discovered during uranium exploration in the Sustut Basin in northern British Columbia, Canada, and were donated to Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia in 2004. Although dinosaur bones have been reported from British Columbia previously, this specimen is the earliest recorded discovery of dinosaur bones from the province. The specimen also represents one of the westernmost discoveries of dinosaur bones in Canada. The bones were collected from loose blocks in a talus slope, near the intersection of Birdflat Creek and Sustut River.

The fossils are encased in a hard siltstone that shares characteristics with both the Early Albian to Late Cenomanian Tango Creek Formation and the Late Campanian to late Early Maastrichtian Brothers Peak Formation, making a more precise age estimate for this specimen difficult. Bones collected include the right humerus, a radius, the distal portion of the right tibia and fibula, several pedal phalanges including two unguals, and several unidentifiable fragments. A small block of matrix removed from the tibia contains additional small bones, but further preparation is not possible at this time.

Comparison of the material with specimens at the Royal Ontario Museum and descriptions in the literature indicates that a relatively small (less than three metres in length), bipedal ornithischian is represented. General features of the tibia and phalanges are consistent with the ornithopod Thescelosaurus, but a low deltopectoral crest on the humerus matches closely with Stegoceras and other pachycephalosaurs. The specimen may represent a new taxon unique to British Columbia.

Pages: 140
Supervisor: Milton Graves