Paleontologists estimate its age to be 300 million years!
On Canada’s Prince Edward Island, a high school teacher’s regular dog walk led to the discovery of a 300 million-year-old fossil that has excited paleontologists worldwide.
In late August, Lisa St. Coeur Cormier was walking her dog Sammy on the beach at Cape Egmont when she noticed what she believed was a tree root.
“Upon closer inspection, I noticed a rib cage,” she told The Washington Post. And surrounding that were a spine and a skull.
The former middle school science teacher shared her discoveries with her family, and her mother-in-law forwarded the photographs to PEI’s fossil experts, including Laura MacNeill of Prehistoric Island Tours, which conducts tours of fossil-rich areas on the island. When MacNeill saw the photographs, she realized that she was witnessing history in the making.
She told The Washington Post, “I was ecstatic to contemplate what this could mean for the island.”
John Calder, a geologist and paleontologist from Canada, also received the photographs and felt compelled to visit Prince Edward Island immediately.
Calder told The Post, “There aren’t many specimens from this period, so it was a remarkable discovery.”
The images of the rib cage, spine, and skull discovered by Cormier were uploaded to FB by the science page PEI: Island at the Centre of the World.
It will take paleontologists at least a year to determine the species of the relic, according to Calder, but they already know that it existed throughout the Carboniferous and Permian periods, making it extremely unusual and possibly unique.
Not for the first time in recent years have significant fossils been discovered on Prince Edward Island. In 2018, fossilized Bathygnathus borealis footprints were discovered on PEI National Park’s Cavendish Beach. This magnificent reptilian predator, known as the Dimetrodon, existed 100 million years before dinosaurs, during the Permian epoch.
Calder told The National Post at the time, “The Island’s fossil history has reached the point where it can proudly stand on the world stage.”
According to him, Prince Edward Island is unusually rich in prehistoric fossils because it was one of the few Canadian regions that was not submerged during these time periods.
“Prince Edward Island was one of the few places with life on land before dinosaurs even walked the Earth,” a geologist explained to The National Post. “While the majority of modern-day Canada was submerged in water, Prince Edward Island was one of the few places with life on land before dinosaurs even walked the Earth.”
However, Calder was now concerned that this new fossil will wash away. According to a FB post from Prince Edward Island, the artifact is at the water’s edge, and the excavation crew “made a tremendous effort to collect it in a small window between tides.”
What an amazing find!