Susanna McLeod

Susanna McLeod

Glimpses of Canadian History : Email: Scribbles@cogeco.ca

Dinosaurs! Hadrosaur Eggs found at Devil’s Coolee, Alberta in 1987

Interested in fossils and dinosaurs, teenager Wendy Sloboda made a significant discovery in southern Alberta: fossilized eggshells.

Eyes scanning the terrain, carefully scraping and digging, 19-year-9ld made an amazing discovery at Milk River Ridge in 1987. Fossil hunting at Devil’s Coolee near Warner, Alberta, the young scientist uncovered a large round shape. Wendy Sloboda was about to make her first mark of many in palaeontology history.  She found the eggshells of dinosaurs.

Eggshells Among the Rocks

The Sloboda packaged up her find and sent it to the University of Calgary for examination. Forwarded on to the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Alberta, Dr. Philip Currie made his expert observations. Currie “confirmed that the pieces were dinosaur eggshell,” said Devil’s Coulee Dinosaur & Heritage Museum. The palaeontologist “immediately sent a crew of prospectors down to Warner to search the coulees for a similar site to that found in northern Montana of dinosaur eggs and babies.“

Searching the region for days, the scientists and crew were empty handed. Late one afternoon, a find was made – a nearly complete nesting site of hadrosaurs. Excitement danced in the air.

Composite cast of Hadrosaur embryo

Hadrosaurs on Montana Border

Before long, Wendy Sloboda made another mark in history. A second-year Zoology student with the University of Lethbridge in 1990, the 20-year-old was on an expedition near the Montana-Canada border. Assisting with sandstone measurement, Sloboda “discovered the bones of a hadrosaur, or duck-bill dinosaur, three years after she found fossilized eggs from the same species,” noted The Hour, newspaper of Norwalk, Connecticut, on August 18, 1990. The 65-million-year-old hadrosaur “would have weighed nearly three tons, measured about 30 feet long, and stood about nine feet tall on its hind legs.”

 

Sloboda a Coprolite Specialist

Half a decade later, Sloboda was an authentic fossil-hunter, specializing in coprolites – fossilized poop. In 1995, she made a third remarkable coprolite discovery in Saskatchewan, and then two years after that, found a Tyrannosaurus Rex coprolite with the fossilized remains of the terrifying dinosaur’s dinner. Exploring sites around the world, in 2003, Sloboda came across a unique region in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia. “I’ve never actually seen so many dinosaur skeletons… I’ve found what they think is a new lizard,” Sloboda told Journal, University of Lethbridge Alumni Magazine in “A Passion for Paleontology” (Spring 2004, Volume 8, No. 1).

The Devil’s Coolee Dinosaur & Heritage Museum in the Village of Warner, Alberta is home to the significant find by Wendy Sloboda plus contributions by many other dinosaur hunters. Featuring displays, interactive installations, and site tours, the Museum guides visitors into the world of pre-history and the fascination of palaeontology in western Canada.

And to think, it all began with the startling discovery of an inquisitive, unstoppable teenage girl.

Relative of Triceratops family, the fossil was named after paleontologist Wendy Sloboda in 2015

Sources:

  • Devil’s Coulee Dinosaur & Heritage Museum (Accessed May 10, 2012)
  • “ Student Finds Dinosaur Remains,“ The Hour, Norwalk, Connecticut, August 18, 1990, Pg. 2 (Accessed May 11, 2012)
  • “A Passion for Paleontology,” Journal, University of Lethbridge Alumni Magazine, Spring 2004, Volume 8, No. 1

This article first appeared on Suite101.com in May 2012.  Copyright Susanna McLeod

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