The Giant’s Rib Escarpment Education Network (that’s us) has been extremely fortunate to be able to display visiting Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) fossils at our Centre. The ROM has been more than generous and, as a small volunteer-run non-profit, we are doing what we can to support the ROM in any way we can.
As it happens, at our fundraiser this past June, we had a number of our best specimens on display and watched as ROM’s Assistant Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology, David Rudkin, salivated over our collection! As a token of our gratitude to the ROM and to Dave for speaking at our event, we offered to donate one of our fossils to the ROM for their permanent collection.
As you can see, we had some very exquisite museum-quality pieces available, but the one he selected was a surprise to all of us. He selected a fossil which had been recently donated by our newsletter editor, Stan Nowak. As it turns out, this fossil is extremely rare. For you fossilheads out there, it was the pygidium of Coronura aspectans in Devonian drift.
For the rest of us, it was a trilobite.
Now, there were well more than 20,000 species of trilobites in their day. They were basically a big old undersea bug. This one was a Coronura aspectans. What makes this fossil special is that it shows the pygidium section of this particular trilobite, and there are only a very few like it around the world!
But for us, our favourite part of the story is how it was found. You hear stories all the time about people out on digs or on hikes, or in quarries looking for fossils. Nope, not this one. Stan was out walking his dog in downtown Dundas and when the pooch was about to pee, Stan stopped, looked down and noticed the fossil. Needless to say, it never got peed on, but what an incredible find! Stan later donated the fossil to our booth at the Made in Dundas festival at the Dundas Museum this year.
This fossil is from the Devonian period, so after the period in which the Niagara Escarpment was formed, but it is still around 400 million years old!
So we were thrilled that an unlikely series of events saved this rare fossil from dog pee and other unsavoury ends, and has now found a home where it belongs… among the other amazing fossils at the ROM.
The ROM is fundraising for a new Early Life exhibit, which returns paleontology to the actual Paleontology wing of the old building. Please offer your support to this amazing new exhibit which will feature the creatures of the Niagara Escarpment!