ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Diggin' For Dinosaurs - Eastend Fossil Research Station

Updated on March 30, 2010

Eastend Fossil Research Station, Saskatchewan

In 1991, on a cattle ranch southeast of Eastend, Saskatchewan, palaeontologists Tim Tokaryk and John Storer were prospecting for fossils in the coulees of the Frenchman River Valley. With them was a local teacher, Robert Gebhardt, who noticed parts of a tooth and tail bone protruding from the hillside. Lo and behold, they were the first pieces from a nearly complete skull and skeleton of a 65-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex.

Saskatchewan's first T. rex, "Scotty" was finally freed during the summers of 1994 and 1995. Eight months of excavation reclaimed the jumble of bones, and four plaster-jacketed blocks, each weighing up to four tons, were carefully transported by a team of Belgian horses and by truck to the Eastend Fossil Research Station in October 1995. Surrounded by rugged prairie, the research station had opened five months earlier in anticipation of Scotty's arrival. After the skeleton was found, palaeontologists wanted a convenient facility in which to work on the fossils, and locals lobbied to keep Scotty in the area. The region's wealth of fossils has been known since the 1920s when "Corky" Jones, a local fossil hunter, began making discoveries.

Rock deposits in the Frenchman Formation preserve a range of vertebrates from the late Cretaceous - when this area was a subtropical coastal floodplain - that range in size from frogs and salamanders to Triceratops and Edmontosaurus. In 1995, during a break from the excavation of Scotty, Eastend palaeontologists discovered fossilized feces from a Tyrannosaurus. Nearly 18 inches long, the coprolite was chock-full of bone fragments from a juvenile plant-eating dinosaur.

Open daily year-round, Eastend Fossil Research Station contains interpretive exhibits, including tyrannosaur teeth and hands-on fossil and geology displays. Visitors can watch preparators in the lab meticulously removing and cleaning Scotty's bones or other fossils. A mural shows all the identified T. rex bones to date.

Separating the fossils from surrounding ironstone and mudstone takes years of work. Scott's skull should be ready for display by 2002, but completing the skeleton will require a decade or so. Then the bones will be cast and mounted in the research station, a satellite facility of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Regina.

In summer, visitors can join a day dig or quarry tour for a firsthand look at field work in a local site known for 35- to 40-million-year-old mammals, including deer, horses, and rhinoceros-like brontotheres. The field station may add tours to dinosaur or other more ancient bone quarries. A few openings are available each year in the volunteer dig program, which requires a minimum commitment of two weeks.

During July and August, twice-weekly "Fossil Discovery" programs geared for children feature hands-on paleo crafts and activities. Visitors can make casts of dinosaur footprints, open plaster jackets containing miniature dinosaurs, or pick through a sandy matrix to find real fossils. Similar programs are offered twice a month at nearby Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.

Visit the Eastend Museum for a broader sample of local dinosaurs, as well as fossils of marine plants and animals, including many found by "Corky" Jones. A larger museum, scheduled to be built in a year or two, will focus on the science and process of palaeontology and archaeology. The museum will feature its own fossil-preparation lab and a spacious gallery where some of the research station's specimens of Triceratops, other dinosaurs, and fossil mammals from the Cypress Hills Formation can be shared with visitors.

Continued in: Diggin' For Dinosaurs - Wasson Bluff

Back To Start


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)