Drunken Hooligans Destroy Irreplaceable Dinosaur Fossils

Destroyed dinosaur fossilsHadrosaur ones from an Alberta dinosaur dig are scattered, broken or missing after vandals damaged the site.

Photo: Phillip Bell

Whether it was malicious intent or drunken tomfoolery doesn’t matter much to Phillip Bell, a graduate student at the University of Alberta in Canada. His precious, irreplaceable duck-billed hadrosaur fossil has been destroyed.Bell and a team from the University of Alberta discovered the find, along with many other dinosaur fossils, near Grande Prairie, Alberta. It was covered over and the team planned to move it mid-July. When they returned to the site, they discovered the fossils, which were bound for the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, had been destroyed.

Bones from the hadrosaur were scattered around the site or missing. As he told CBC News Edmonton:

“This was the find of the season for us. There was a lot of excitement around it. Now it’s just kind of a salvage operation, trying to put back the pieces. But it’s going to be significantly less than what it was going to be,” said paleontologist Dr. Phil Bell. “It’s an irreplaceable loss.”

It isn’t the first loss, either. Empty alcohol bottles and other debris are often found at the site, and three other fossils have been damaged at the site since May. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and officials from the University of Alberta and the Royal Tyrrell Museum are investigating the incident.

Here are some more pictures of the destruction, courtesy of Phil Bell:

FossilsThe white stuff is plaster that we used to encase and protect the bones before we lay the tarp over it and buried it – they had exhumed and torn everything off and in the process destroyed many bones.

Photo: Philip Bell

FossilsSome of the ribs (the brown rod-like things) that were destroyed.

Photo: Philip Bell

FossilsA couple of ribs that were destroyed and our initial attempts to start putting the pieces back together from the thousands of fragments that were strewn around the hill.

Photo: Philip Bell

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