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Food and travel captivate Janet Podolak, who chronicles both for The News-Herald. Get the back story of her three decades of stories here. Guest bloggers and fellow News-Herald staffers also periodically share details of their trips.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dinosaurs rule Drumheller

I held a 50 million year old dinosaur bone in my hand yesterday. To think of being able to actually touch something that old boggles my mind. Collector Steve Wolchina grew up here near Drumheller, Alberta and has been picking up dinosaur bones from the coulees and other strange earthen formations of these Canadian Badlands for more than 50 years.

His tiny stand boasting "Fossils!" and "Dinosaur bones!" its near the edge of Horseshoe Canyon, a four mile long, two mile wide precipice filled with the striped and oddly shaped formations we began seeing upon the approach to Drumheller. Wolchina's dinosaur bones are mostly fragments, but they're the real thing and they sell for $20 and up.

Because his decades of experience help him know what to look for, he also prospects for the fossils in Utah and other places the bones are known to be found. He ships his finds to souvenir stands all over the world.

Dinosaurs in Canada now are protected by the government, he told me. "All invertebrate fossils now belong to the Crown," he said.

This morning I'll visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum, largest in the world devoted to palaeontology, where I am sure to learn more about these giant creatures who roamed the earth so long ago. I hope to find out if there's a connection between the huge numbers of oil and gas reserves here and the presence of dinosaurs. Drumheller makes the most of its dinosaur heritage with huge plaster creatures all around town. The visitor center is tucked beneath the belly of a 3 story tall dinosaur model. Kids crawl over it and, from inside the center, people can even go up inside it.

We'll also drive a couple of hours to Dinosaur Provincial Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

But photos will have to wait until I return. I forgot a cord that's necessary to transfer them from my camera to my computer.

1 Comments:

Blogger glenncameron said...

Janet, Sounds like you are having a good time in the Canadian Badlands. I love your blog. It lets me travel around the world from the safety of my office chair! Hope the weather treats you well in Alberta.
Glenn Cameron, Toronto

June 19, 2008 at 11:03 AM 

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