The dinosaur park is located on the Red Deer River in the province of Alberta. Here the river has dug itself deep into the landscape and created a bizarre erosion landscape that alternates with forest and tundra vegetation. The park is one of the most important sites for finding dinosaur bones on display in the adjacent Royal Tyrrell Museum.
Dinosaur Provincial Park: Facts
|Official title:||Provincial Dinosaur Park|
|Natural monument:||1955 established as Stevenville Dinosaur Provincial Park (74.93 m²), altitude between 621 and 727 m; Landscape formation through erosion; Average temperature of 3.8 ° C; Between 1979 and 1991 23,347 fossils were found|
|Country:||Canada, southeast berta|
|Location:||northeast of Brooks|
|Meaning:||of great international paleontological importance and an exceptional example of an erosion process that has lasted for millennia|
|Flora and fauna:||in the so-called Judith River Formation (75 million years old) fossil finds of 38 dinosaur species belonging to the families Hadrasauridae, Ornithomimidae, Tyrannosauridae, Nodosauridae, Pachycephalosauridae and Ceratopsidae; other fossils of turtles and marsupials; Mammals living today are pronghorn, mule and white-tailed deer; Over 150 registered bird species such as prairie falcon, golden eagle, king buzzard, merlin and American gray shrike|
A leap in time into the realm of the giant dinosaurs
Badlands – “wasteland” – is a very apt name for the arid prairie in southern Alberta, where piled sandstone hills, barren slopes and steep canyons have been washed away by weathering by wind and water. Their rock layers shine in the most varied of color nuances in the light of the sun slowly disappearing on the horizon. Cacti, sage bushes and bulky desert plants defy the land from some habitat; Coyotes let out their hoarse voices in the distance. Only in the river valley of the Red Deer River is it green, poplars and frugal bushes grow.
Like an open book, the canyons with little vegetation provide a fascinating insight into the regional geology. In a few thousand years of erosion, nature has unauthorized lifted the veil of the history of its origins and, with the most important sites of dinosaur skeletons in Canada, has given us a glimpse of the age of the dinosaurs millions of years ago. According to physicscat, the forbidding barreness of the Badlands makes the thought of lush, green forests seem like a bizarre mental game. But a leap in time of 75 million years presents the region’s past in a completely different light. Huge trees sprout in shady, subtropical forests, and in a large, swampy delta, the rotting vegetation forms the basis for southern Alberta’s rich coal deposits.
Walking on their long and strong hind legs, dinosaurs roam the area. Some of them, such as the eight-meter-long Alberta lizard belonging to the tyrant lizards, with the scientific name “Albertosaurus libratus”, are voracious predators with saber-like teeth. In the course of time, many giant dinosaurs develop into herbivores that, like the native “Styracosaurus albertensis”, move on four legs. This “prickly lizard” seems to attach particular importance to its appearance: short ruff and a long, straight nasal horn, tiny brow horns and six long, backward-pointing spines. At the end of the Cretaceous Period, the dinosaurs suddenly die out. The greatest land animals of all time disappear from the earth as if a breeze was blowing them away. Their carcasses are buried in the wet sand the soft tissues rotten. Groundwater penetrates the bones, which gradually petrify through mineral deposits and are protected in a “shell” of compact sand and clay for millions of years.
After the last ice age around 14,000 years ago, the canyons were washed out by melting ice masses. The rapidly advancing erosion “breaks” dinosaur bones out of the rock layers. Again and again new sites come to light, occasionally bones can even be put together to form complete skeletons. So far, paleontologists have discovered 38 species of dinosaurs in the park, the bones of which now adorn many of the country’s museums. The current excavations are organized by the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in nearby Drumheller, which exhibits a large number of finds in its excellent museum. The last time an eight-meter-long »Gorgosaurus libratus« and the completely preserved skull of a six-meter-long sharp-tip lizard, »Centrosaurus apertus«, saw the light of day in 1997.