Dinosaur Discoveries

Dinosaur Discoveries in Canada

Albertosaurus with a juvenile
Albertosaurus with a juvenile
Ann Ronan Picture Library

About the time Douglass was collecting dinosaurs for the Carnegie Museum, western Canada opened to dinosaur prospectors. In the early 1870s, George Mercer Dawson had found dinosaur bones in Saskatchewan while surveying the Canada-United States boundary. In 1884, Dawson's assistant, George B. Tyrrell, unearthed a large partial skull of a meat-eating dinosaur, which was later named Albertosaurus sarcophagus, in Alberta.

Geologist Thomas Chesmer Weston boated along the Red Deer River to scan the shore for dinosaur fossils. By the turn of the century, Canadian paleontologist Lawrence M. Lambe had collected many dinosaur specimens using the same technique. A few years later, in 1910, Barnum Brown specially outfitted a barge and continued Weston's and Lambe's work.

Charles Hazelius Sternberg's childhood interest in fossil plants led to a job as a fossil collector for Cope. The Canadian Geological Survey hired Sternberg in 1912 to find dinosaur skeletons and send them to Ottawa. He and his sons George, Charles, and Levi competed with Brown in Alberta for several years. Among the many fossils they found were two duckbilled dinosaur "mummies" preserved with extensive skin impressions. The wealth of specimens discovered by Brown and the Sternbergs showed the amazing diversity of crests, frills, and horns that had arisen among the Late Cretaceous dinosaurs.

Workers have found more dinosaur specimens in southern Alberta than anyplace else in the world. The Alberta government protected this resource by designating a 40-square-mile area along the Red Deer River as Dinosaur Provincial Park.