Saskatchewan Isn’t Just a One-Dinosaur Town
While a T. rex meeting can be very impressive it is not the only dinosaur experience to be found in Saskatchewan. Along with stops in Regina and Eastend, just get the car back on the road, and you’ll be amazed at what you find, in places you didn’t expect to find them. Many of the pre-historic creatures are honoured with statues and adopted as community mascots.
In Ponteix, located just off Hwy 13, meet “Mo”, the Ponteix Long-necked Plesiosaur (a giant marine reptile) – only ever found in Saskatchewan the erminonatator ponteixiensis is known from a single skeleton found near this community. It was a fish-eating reptile that lived 78 million years ago when the province was a shallow inland sea. Mo is estimated to have been about eight metres long, over half of which was its neck.
See the “Kyle Mammoth” Woolly Mammoth – Mammuthus species (sp.), along Hwy 4 at Kyle. This 12,000-year-old giant has been the pride of the region since the 1960s.
Just north of Hwy 7 at Herschel, you will learn more about the Short-necked Plesiosaur – Dolichorhynchops herschelensis is only known from the single specimen collected near the community. While it is considered one-of-a-kind, this genus is known from other specimens throughout North America. The Ancient Echoes Interpretive Centre in Herschel is a good place to start to learn about the short-necked Plesiosaur and other “fabulous fossils”.
In the Cypress Hills area you can discover the Brontothere – Megacerops species. A rhino-like mammal from 35 million years ago found in southwest Saskatchewan, an area known to provide the best record of animal life in Canada during that time period. In Saskatchewan, Megacerops has been found mostly around the eastern flanks of the Cypress Hills. This particular specimen was found northwest of Eastend in 1971.
Near Eastend, learn about Thescelosaur – Thescelosaurus assiniboiensis – this plant-eating dinosaur is known to be from the Frenchman River Valley and was first discovered in 1968. Thescelosaurus assiniboiensis was recognized recently as a new species that is unique to Saskatchewan.
If you are travelling to northeast Saskatchewan you can learn more about “Big Bert” – Terminonaris robusta. Big Bert is the most complete and best-preserved specimen of this 92 millionyear-old crocodile was discovered along the banks of Carrot River in 1991.
By: Lee Hart