Thursday, August 4, 2011

Big Bert: Saskatchewan's Giant Crocodile

Big Bert, the Carrot River Croc - photo montage by Shelley Banks
Big Bert, the Carrot River Croc, in the lobby
of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. © SB 

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada:  Twenty years ago, the fossil of a crocodile from the Cretaceous period was discovered in the Carrot River quarry in east-central Saskatchewan. This creature, identified as Terminonaris robusta, has been nicknamed Big Bert by paleontologists and others who've worked with him.

This giant marine predator lurked in Saskatchewan more that 92 million years ago, when the province was under a great inland sea. He was close to eight metres (25 feet) long and his skull alone was more than one metre long.

Big Bert was discovered by Saskatchewan paleontologist Tim Tokaryk (who also worked to uncover MO, the Ponteix Elasmosaurus / Plesiosaur), and his actual bones were collected by the Royal Saskatchewan Museum and the Canadian Museum of Nature. At the time of discovery, Bert was the only one of his genus found in Canada.

Big Bert's replica is made of polymer, with wire and steel to build the bones, and screws and metal piping to hold them together. It's on display at the RSM in Regina, Saskatchewan, until mid-September, when it will join a travelling exhibit.

More information from the RSM about the discovery of Big Bert.

And yes, for the record, I do know that dinosaurs lived on land, and that Bert (Terminonaris robusta) and Mo (the Ponteix Plesiosaur / Elasmosaur) are not dinosaurs.... But dinosaurs have also been discovered in Saskatchewan...


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