The Tumbler Ridge Museum says they’re ready for a busy summer season, and will offer track site tours starting July 1.
A new exhibit is also on loan from the Royal B.C. Museum, featuring the Ferrisaurus sustutensis, or the ‘The Iron Lizard from the Sustut River’.
Paleontologist Dr. Andrew Lawfield says the Iron Lizard is an important find, related to Triceratops, but with a parrot-like beak in place of horns.
“This specimen is very interesting – it’s both a new genus and a new species of dinosaur,” said Lawfield. “It’s got claws, much closer to a sloth in some respects.”
He added the dino was found in 1971, along a railway line where prospectors were searching for uranium.
A new species of ancient lobster was also discovered recently – the ‘Linuparus qualitus’, dating back 90 million years, and found by Dr. Charles Helm.
“Again, it’s a new species – it’s globally unique. We’re very lucky to be hosting a few things like our tyrannosaurid trackway, but it’s great to be bringing in new material,” said Lawfield.
Museum Executive Director Zena Conlin says they’re gearing up to be open seven days a week, and has hired a programmes coordinator for the summer who will develop onsite and outreach activities, showcasing their rich prehistoric history.
“We’ve been really busy the last two or three weeks – there’s been a lot of visitors from Fort St John and Dawson Creek, so we are starting to see the local people coming out,” said Conlin. “We’re already seeing strong numbers this month, and we only expect to get busier.”
She added that a goal for the gallery is to bring the museum into schools through their outreach.
“We’re gearing up for what I think is going to be a really great summer, I think with our new programmes coordinator, we’re also heading into a great fall next year,” said Conlin. “We’re putting in a lot of foundational pieces to be able to deliver online programming in schools.”
Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Alaska Highway News