A surprise discovery by East Sooke resident Richard Lambert has unearthed a surprising find: the province’s first dinosaur skull.
The fossilized tyrannosaur skull was found near Tumbler Ridge, in an area that has produced hundreds of dinosaur teeth, bones and footprints since 2001, but until this month had never yielded a skull.
Lambert, a chiropractor, discovered the skull while camping.
“I was just wondering along the creek and just saw it,” said Lambert, who once studied and worked in geology and has found hundreds of fossils.
At first, he thought it was nothing special – a piece of log, maybe, with some debris –as he got a bit closer he discovered the skull embedded in the rock.
The 100 kilogram fossil – including the surrounding rock – features a boomerang-shaped bone from the upper jaw between the eye and nose of the dinosaur, with teeth projecting down.
“I never expected to find anything like that,” Lambert said.
He took pictures of his find and noted the GPS coordinates and contacted the Peace Region Paleontology Research Centre to alert them to his find.
They were shocked and elated and transported the specimen back to the museum for further study.
“This is the first theropod dinosaur skull to be found in B.C., and is therefore of great significance to the province,” said Dr. Richard McCrea, the museum’s director in a release.
“We were fortunate that it was portable and reasonably accessible … We are most grateful to Dr. Rick Lambert for reporting his discovery to us.”
McCrea believes the skull belongs to a tyrannosaurid like Albertosaurus and is probably around 75 million years old.
Lambert has collected fossils since his childhood in England, and will continue to search out artifacts from the past.
“This [the jaw] wasn’t a pristine find,” he said, “but I was very fortuitous to find it.
“I’ll keep looking out for them, it’s a hobby … We like exploring and wandering around.”