Canada – “You are like a really nice apartment over a meth lab” (Robin Williams, 2013).
I’m writing this blog post sitting on a coach travelling on the Trans-Canada Highway back to Calgary airport. Reflecting on what has been hands down the best field-trip of my life. As part of the biology module ‘Species and their Relationships’ we get taken to Canada for eight nights to basically dig up dinosaurs and learn all about these amazing animals.
My trip started with four days in Toronto with a few course mates. We stayed in North Forest Hill – where Drake lived apparently! We had a day at the beach on Toronto Island (see pic), went to Niagara Falls & Niagara on the Lake as well some partying and exploring the vibrant city.
Onto the field course.
We flew from Toronto to Calgary to meet up with everyone and following a three hour shop at Walmart we were off! We started with a trip the following day at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, a provincial treasure for the state of Alberta we looked around at their amazing collection before plying our trade the day after in the field itself, scoping out our very own bones.
I was lucky enough to find part of a hadrosaur maxilla (upper jaw – see pics) with teeth still rooted inside. A lucky find that won me “find of the day” and a place in the Dinosaur Provincial Park Museum collection.
We learnt about various and often controversial debates within the paleo research area via individual presentations to the rest of the group – my paper was about triceratops speciation using stratigraphy as a marker, lending a slight physical geography angle!
We then wrapped up our trip with a further visit to the Royal Tyrrell, which puts everything learnt into perspective – a great way to consolidate our individual learning experiences and were taken on a behind the scenes tour, getting to see some of the rarest and most treasured fossils in the world.
Asides from having a relatively small group with world leading teaching (Dr Hone is a T. rex expert) we had a fun time. The lecturers made a great effort to get to know and look after us. Evening meals were eaten together including a BBQ, we went on sunset hikes and played frisbee – it was all so… Canadian. We even bumped into a couple of rattlesnakes and lived to tell the tale!
This trip was seriously beyond everyone’s expectations and we have the luxury of not having an exam – I recommend that anyone interested in dinosaurs to apply for this module (if applicable). In the meantime, I’m happy to answer any questions.