These bones of a juvenile plesiosaur are in the lab at the Courtenay Museum. Photo supplied

These bones of a juvenile plesiosaur are in the lab at the Courtenay Museum. Photo supplied

Fossil discovery could be Comox Valley’s second elasmosaur

Skeletal remains of an ancient swimming reptile discovered on the banks of the Trent River

The skeletal remains of an ancient swimming reptile called a plesiosaur have been discovered on the banks of the Trent River south of Courtenay.

Pat Trask, who in recent years has been finding bones along the river, says the rib cage that he found about four weeks ago could belong to an elasmosaur, a type of plesiosaur. If so, it would be the second elasmosaur discovery in the Comox Valley. Trask’s twin brother Mike found a bigger one along the banks of the Puntledge River in 1988. It is on display at the Courtenay and District Museum & Paleontology Centre.

“To find another elasmosaur is kind of freaky, because they’re really rare,” said Trask, the earth sciences curator at the museum. He estimates the bones are 85 million years old.

RELATED: Meet Vancouver Island’s new Giganotosaurus

RELATED: Victoria museum unveils ‘Buster’ a new unique-to-B.C. dinosaur

“There’s a bunch of fingers and stuff in there. I haven’t found all of its neck…Its head might even be there. I found some teeth. That tells me his head might be underneath.”

Trask had constructed a platform underneath the main body, but he needs to extend it to further explore the area. At this point, he has taken two plaster jackets full of bones to the museum. He figures about 60 per cent of the creature has been recovered.

Trask said the bones belonged to a juvenile plesiosaur.

“It might be a short-neck plesiosaur. I’ve pretty well just found his body — more than half of a body, with all the bones in place…Most of the time these things get eaten. We’re lucky here in the Comox Valley, the water depth was pretty deep, so I think these creatures were away from the large predators, mostly.

“He’s going to be less than half the size of the one at the museum. The bones are in good shape, they’re way better than the other elasmosaur. All the definition’s in them. The other ones were more corroded. So this one might be identifiable, it could be named.”

Trask reminds the public that the Courtenay Museum is open five days a week. It’s located at 207 4th St.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Just Posted

Kenny Podmore, here seen at Sidney’s cenotaph in November, says he feels for the veterans after organizers had to cancel an event acknowledging Victory in Europe (VE) Day for the second time in as many years because of COVID-19. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich event marking 75th anniversary of VE-Day cancelled

Sidney resident first planned event for May 9, 2020 moved to May 8 before being cancelled

Individuals and businesses are encouraged to bring their unwanted electronics to Tillicum Centre May 14 to be shredded, recycled or donated. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria residents can shred, donate electronics safely

Vancouver Island Better Business Bureau hosts event May 14 at Tillicum Centre

Scheduling popular summer events like the Canada Day celebrations is difficult due to the pandemic. (File - Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke summer events schedule clouded by COVID

Public health guidelines hamper plans

The District of Sooke is looking at new plans to build a fenced dog park at Ponds Park Corridor. (Pixabay.com)
Sooke seeks input on dog park

Public comment welcomed until June 4

Sooke RCMP are asking for the public’s help in finding Jeremy Tinnion after he was last seen in leaving a Sooke shelter on May 13. (Photo courtesy of Sooke RCMP)
MISSING: Jeremy Tinnion last seen in Sooke on May 13

The 31-year-old was last seen by staff members as he was leaving an Otter Point Road shelter

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
MISSING: Salt Spring RCMP find woman’s car, still seek Island resident

Sinikka Gay Elliott is 5’3” with a slim build and dark brown short hair

A Saanich man received almost 10 years in Supreme Court in Courtenay for a shooting incident from 2018. Record file photo
Shooting incident on Island nets almost 10-year sentence

Saanich man was arrested without incident north of Courtenay in 2018

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Most Read