A PEI school teacher made the discovery of a lifetime after coming across a 300-million-year-old fossil.
Lisa Cormier was strolling Cape Egmont on Monday afternoon when she spotted an anomaly partially buried in the shore.
“I saw what I thought was roots,” she said. “When I looked at it, I noticed it had ribs, and I could see the spine and the skull.”
Cormier took pictures of what he found and shared them with his family.
Her mother-in-law sent them to Laura McNeil of Prehistoric Island Tours. McNeill immediately reached out to her Cormier and other experts.
Geologist and paleontologist John Calder was one of them. He said the fossils appear to be from near the end of the Carboniferous to the Permian, which is about 300 million years old.
Calder, who has written a book on the geological heritage of PEI, says such finds are “extremely rare.”
“Fossils like this appear every 50 or 100 years,” he said. “No true frequency, but rare. And this may be the one and only fossil in the tree of life… of evolution from amphibians to reptiles to mammals to us…”
No fossils have been identified, but they are likely to be reptiles, or at least very close relatives, Calder said.
“This is an early stage of evolution from amphibians to reptiles, and it’s branched,” he said. “And it will be a real puzzle. It will probably take many years to figure out what this thing is.”
He may even be a previously unknown species, with few specimens ever found from that era.
The excavation team, including Matt Stimson, Patrick Brunet and Linda Berko, was able to unearth it after several days of work.
On Saturday, Parks Canada staff carefully moved the fossil from its discovery site to its facility in Greenwich.
Calder said he doesn’t plan on staying there too long, as he needs to bring it to a paleontology lab for an expert to look at it.
“They will probably use a CT scan,” he said.
He said finds of such fossils at PEI have become more frequent in recent years. He advised the islanders to keep an eye on them.
“There are far more everyday people walking the beach than paleontologists, and most of these important discoveries were not made by scientists.
Cormier said the discovery represents a unique opportunity to leave some legacy in the history of science.
“I can’t believe I found something 300 million years old,” she said.
“I think one time is enough [thing], but I keep walking and looking for sea glass. You’ll probably find something else. “
PEI School Teacher Discovers 300 Million-Year-Old Fossil
Source link PEI School Teacher Discovers 300 Million-Year-Old Fossil