Tuesday 21 June 2016

Dinosaur Provincial Park

While the United States is known for its badlands, Canada has its share of beautiful topography, located in southern Alberta.  Opened in 1955 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Alberta, Dinosaur Provincial Park is home to at least 40 dinosaur species and 500 specimens, exhibited all over the world.  Due to the precious fossils found in the park, it was designated a World Heritage Site in 1979.

The diverse collection of dinosaur bones at the park, part of the late Cretaceous period, include:  ceratopsia, hadrosauridae, ankylosauria, hypsilophodontidae, pachycelphalosauria, tyrannosauridae, ornithomimidae, caenagnathidae, dromaeosauridae, and troodontidae.  Previous to 1985, exhibits of these fossils could be found at the Toronto's Royal Agricultural Museum, Ottawa's Canadian Museum of Nature, and the New York City's American Museum of Natural History.  Today, the exhibits are displayed at Drumheller's Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology.

Dinosaur Provincial Park, located only two and a half hours southeast of Calgary, supports three ecosystems:  badlands, prairie grasslands and riverside cottonwoods.  Current inhabitants are much smaller than the dinosaurs.  "Choruses of coyotes are common at dusk as well as calls of nightowls."  Daytime visitors can spot cottontail rabbits, mule deer and pronghorns.  In the spring and summer, curlews and Canada geese fill the skies.

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